Lee Jae-myung fails to pick up post-nomination boost in polls

Posted on : 2021-10-15 17:15 KST Modified on : 2021-10-15 17:15 KST
Analysts attribute the dip in support to the Daejang neighborhood scandal and Lee Nak-yon’s objections to the party’s primary results
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, who was chosen as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, gives a double thumbs-up ahead of his acceptance speech Sunday at Olympic Park in Seoul’s Songpa District. (National Assembly pool photo)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, who was chosen as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, gives a double thumbs-up ahead of his acceptance speech Sunday at Olympic Park in Seoul’s Songpa District. (National Assembly pool photo)

Democratic Party presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung failed to enjoy a post-convention bump to his popularity, which opinion polls showed slipping slightly instead.

The conclusion of his selection as a nominee was overshadowed by fellow presidential hopeful Lee Nak-yon’s objections over the selection process, along with allegations concerning a land development scandal in Seongnam’s Daejang neighborhood.

The awkward start for Lee Jae-myung as a nominee — with his campaign taking a hit rather than enjoying a boost — leaves him trying to turn things around.

A survey of 1,016 voting-age South Koreans nationwide conducted between Monday and Wednesday by Embrain Public, Kstat Research, Korea Research International, and Hankook Research asked which candidate they would support in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup of Lee against different opposition party candidates. Results showed Lee earning a support rating of 39%, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points.

That put him neck and neck with prospective People Power Party (PPP) nominee and former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, who pulled 35%. Lee was down by 5 percentage points from the week before, while Yoon’s rating had risen by 2 percentage points.

A hypothetical two-way race between Lee and Hong Joon-pyo, another prospective PPP candidate, showed the former with 37% and the latter with 40%. Hong’s rating was up by 3 percentage points from a week before, while Lee’s was down by 3 percentage points.

While he is still in a competitive position, support for Lee had clearly slid compared with the period before he was officially selected as the Democratic Party nominee.

Another survey of 1,014 voting-age South Koreans conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by Next Research at the request of the SBS network (95% confidence level, margin of error ±3.1 percentage points) also had Lee neck and neck with Yoon within the margin of error in a hypothetical two-way race, drawing 33.2% support to Yoon’s 35.5%.

The findings showed Lee down and Yoon up when compared with another survey conducted on Sept. 6 and 7, which had Lee with 37.8% and Yoon with 33.1%.

Lee also trailed slightly in a two-way race with Hong by a margin of 32.8% to 33.2%. While previously polling had Lee far ahead of Hong by a margin of 38.2% to 29.5%, the latest showed them more or less even within the margin of error.

Analysts attributed the drop in support for Lee to factors including the Daejang scandal and the effects of Lee Nak-yon’s initial reluctance to accept the results of the party’s primary.

Supporters of Lee Nak-yon were also found to hold negative opinions of Lee Jae-myung. A survey of 2,027 South Koreans (95% confidence level, margin of error ±2.2 percentage points) conducted by Realmeter on Monday and Tuesday at the request of online news outlet OhmyNews showed that of the 604 respondents who said they had supported Lee Nak-yon during the primary, just 14.2% said they planned to back Lee Jae-myung, while 40.3% said they planned to support Yoon.

The findings showed the impact of the primary process, which was marred by controversy over discarded votes.

“Lee Jae-myung’s competitiveness as a candidate has diminished within the party amid the strong outcry from Lee Nak-yon’s supporters, and outside the party with the blow from the allegations about land development in Daejang,” said Bae Jong-chan, director of the research center Insight K.

As his support ratings continue to slip due to the Daejang allegations, Lee’s camp plans to go all out toward making his appearance at a parliamentary audit into a turning point.

“Lee Jae-myung will enjoy a resilient recovery when he firmly states his convictions and answers the public’s questions during his appearance at the parliamentary audit before the National Assembly next week,” predicted one member of his camp.

By Shim Wu-sam, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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