Poll: Americans are split on the principle of pre-emptive military force

Half say using military force against countries that may seriously threaten the U.S. – but have not attacked it – can often (12%) or sometimes (38%) be justified, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October. About as many (48%) say such pre-emptive use of military force can rarely (28%) or never (20%) be justified.

A recent report by the Center found that the share of Americans who see North Korea’s nuclear program as a major threat to the U.S. is as high as at any point since 2005. A separate report found that growing shares of Americans think the regime in Pyongyang is capable of hitting the U.S. with a nuclear missile and willing to follow through on threats to do so.