Two top ruling party presidential hopefuls lead Yoon Seok-youl in leatest poll

Posted on : 2021-07-23 17:50 KST Modified on : 2021-07-23 17:50 KST
Both Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung and former Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon held leads over former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl and former Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon (Graphic by Park Seon-mi)
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl and former Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon (Graphic by Park Seon-mi)

Two potential Democratic Party presidential candidates, Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung and former party leader Lee Nak-yon, held leads over opposition contender and former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl beyond the margin of error in a hypothetical two-way race for the presidency, survey findings published on Thursday showed.

With Yoon’s support ratings plummeting recently while Lee Nak-yon has enjoyed a clear boost, a situation has been taking shape where either of the top two potential ruling party nominees holds an advantage over the opposition’s strongest contender.

Four polling organizations — Embrain Public, KSTAT Research, Korea Research International, and Hankook Research — conducted a National Barometer Survey (NBS) poll from Monday to Wednesday of 1,003 adults with a 95% confidence level and the margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The results showed Lee Jae-myung leading Yoon in a hypothetical two-way presidential race by a margin of 46% to 33%, or 13 percentage points. The latest numbers showed Lee widening his lead as he gained three percentage points compared with another survey two weeks ago, while Yoon’s support remained unchanged.

Lee Nak-yon also led Yoon in a hypothetical contest by a margin of 42% to 34%. An NBS poll conducted two weeks earlier on July 5–7, showed the two tied at 36%. Since then, Yoon has slid by two percentage points while Lee has gained six percentage points, extending his advantage beyond the margin of error.

Lee Nak-yon’s lead in a two-way race was also evident in another survey of 1,011 South Koreans aged 18 and up nationwide that was conducted by WinGKorea on July 10–11 at the request of the Asia Business Daily.

Those findings showed Lee and Yoon with respective support ratings of 43.7% and 41.2% in a two-way contest, while Lee Jae-myung trailed Yoon by a margin of 41.5% to 42.2%.

Yoon Tae-gon, director of political analysis for The Moa Agenda and Strategy Group, said the findings “appeared to reflect the combination of an overall boost for the ruling party and a weakening for Yoon Seok-youl.”

But he also sounded a cautious note, pointing out that “many surveys have found Yoon to have the advantage over Lee Nak-yon.”

“Lee Nak-yon’s support ratings tend to be strongly linked to those of President Moon Jae-in, which means the trend could change as things like the Cheonghae Unit cluster infection and former South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo’s upheld conviction are factored into survey findings,” he added.

Kim Hyung-joon, a professor of political science and diplomacy at Myongji University, characterized the recent opinion polling trend as “stasis for Lee Jae-myung, a boost for Lee Nak-yon, a slide for Yoon Seok-youl, and a rise for [former Board of Audit and Inspection Chairperson] Choe Jae-hyeong.”

“But in a two-way race, it’s typically more about supporters rallying on both sides than about the candidates themselves, so this could be seen as indicating that competitiveness has dropped a bit not just for Yoon Seok-youl, but for the opposition contenders as a whole,” he said.

In a multiple candidate scenario, Lee Jae-myung maintained a strong lead over Lee Nak-yon. In a presidential candidate suitability rating as part of the latest NBS, Lee Jae-myung had the highest support level at 27%, followed by Yoon at 19% and Lee Nak-yon at 14%.

Those findings had Lee gaining a percentage point compared with a survey the previous week, while Yoon lost one percentage point to drop below 20%. Lee’s support level remained unchanged.

Next in line were People Power Party lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo (4%), Choe Jae-hyeong (3%), and People’s Party leader Ahn Cheol-soo (3%).

By Jang Na-rye, staff reporter

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