THAT ODD NORTH KOREA POLL…. Rasmussen published a poll yesterday showing 57% of Americans “favor a military response to eliminate North Korea’s missile launching capability.” I find that hard to believe.

The telephone survey was conducted Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, the two days immediately prior to North Korea’s launch. The question asked about a military response if North Korea actually did launch a long-range missile.

Support for a military response comes from 66% of Republicans, 52% of Democrats and 54% of those not affiliated with either major political party. There is no gender gap on the issue as a military response is favored by 57% of men and 57% of women.

Overall, 75% of voters say they’ve been closely following news stories about the possible launch. That figure includes 40% who’ve followed the news Very Closely.

I find the notion that three out of four Americans have been “closely” following the news regarding North Korea even harder to believe. (Robert Farley put it this way: “Ahem. If you believe that 75% of the registered voters in the United States were closely following the North Korean missile launch on Friday, then I have a tea party to sell you.”)

The key question was worded, “If North Korea launches a long-range missile, should the United States take military action to eliminate North Korea’s ability to launch missiles?” In response, according to Rasmussen, 57% said, “Yes.”

I can only assume those 57% haven’t thought this through. If the U.S. were to “eliminate” North Korea’s ability to launch missiles through military action, that would instigate a rather dramatic regional conflict, involving South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia. A majority of Americans really prepared to jump into this over a launch that, by some measures, was a failure?

In the meantime, Newt Gingrich believes the Obama administration should launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, and use “lasers” to take out the country’s missile capabilities. Gingrich added that Obama has a “dangerous … fantasy foreign policy.”

Yes, the guy who wants to shoot frickin’ lasers at North Korea believes the president’s foreign policy is the stuff of fantasy. Got it.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.