Wasington, Oct 26: A majority of Americans do not support US military action to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released today.
The poll found 56 per cent of likely voters do not believe the United States should act militarily to stop further development of nuclear weapons by North Korea. More than one-third, 35 per cent, supported military action to stop Pyongyang.
President George W Bush has pledged to keep trying to resolve the North Korea nuclear standoff diplomatically despite Pyongyang's warning of the risk of war if South Korea joins US-led sanctions.
The UN Security Council voted on October 14 to impose financial and arms sanctions on North Korea after it staged its first nuclear test earlier this month, but how those measures will be implemented remains a matter of debate.
Washington has played down military options in dealing with North Korea's defiance, but has not ruled anything out.
The Reuters/Zogby poll of 1,013 likely voters, taken Friday through Monday, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll also found about 50 per cent of likely voters believe US troops should be pulled out of Iraq by the end of next year, including 15 per cent who favor an immediate withdrawal and 20 per cent who want out by mid-2007.
The survey found 41 per cent agreed with the statement that troops should remain ''until the situation is stable.'' With the Iraq war dominating the US campaign debate ahead of November 7 congressional elections to decide the balance of power in Congress, Bush yesterday defended the war at a White House news conference.
''I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I'm not satisfied either,'' Bush said. ''But we cannot allow our dissatisfaction to turn into disillusionment about our purpose in this war.'' While Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been criticized for his handling of the Iraq war, the poll found 49 per cent of voters disagree he should be fired and 42 per cent want him out.