Poll: Ahn supporters may now decide December’s election

Posted on : 2012-11-26 12:19 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Moon Jae-in will now need to rally young and undecided voters

By Lee Jae-hee and Ahn Chang-hyun, staff reporters

Survey results released on Nov. 25 showed 50.7% of former supporters of Ahn Cheol-soo saying they plan to back Moon Jae-in for president, and 26.4% of them moving over to Park Geun-hye.

Another 21.9% of respondents gave no answer or said they didn’t know. With Ahn‘s supporters now a swing vote after the independent bowed out of the presidential race on Nov. 23, how his supporters end up voting could be the deciding factor in the election.

The Hankyoreh commissioned an emergency poll from the Korea Society Opinion Institute on Nov. 25 to see how voter feelings had changed since Ahn’s withdrawl.

When asked whether they would support Park, the Saenuri Party (NFP) candidate, or Moon, the Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate, in a head-to-head race, 49.8% of respondents named Park. This gave her an 8.2 percentage point lead over Moon, who drew 41.6% of votes.

On the effects of the final selection of an opposition candidate, 54.1% said they thought Park would still emerge the victor. When predicting the outcome of the race after Ahn dropped out, 54.1% of all respondents said Park would win, while 31.6% foresaw Moon taking the presidency.

Among people who supported Ahn before he bowed out, less than half (43.2%) said they had a “favorable” view of Moon after the selection. It appears unlikely that supporters of Park and Moon will change their choice now that the opposition candidate has been finalized. While 40.4% of Ahn’s supporters backed the DUP in terms of party support, another 24.8% were supporters of the Saenuri Party. The people who migrated from Ahn to Park are likely to have come from this category.

Now the decision of the 21.9% of Ahn supporters who haven’t made up their minds yet - whether to vote at all, and whom to vote for if they do - appears likely to decide the election. The group represents about 8.3% of all voters, more than enough to determine the outcome.

Out of Ahn’s support base, 18.2% said they would wait and see whether they would vote, indicating that their decision would be based on what Moon and the DUP do over the next month. Another 21.9% who had supported Ahn are now undecided.

One way of gauging their final decision is their feelings on whether or not Saenuri should stay in power. On the whole, 50.6% of respondents were against another Saenuri administration, a much larger group than the 37.7% who said they preferred the Saenuri to stay on. An examination of Ahn supporters’ feelings about another Saenuri administration showed a dominant 70.4% against it, compared to 21.7% for it. This is likely to be a closely watched indicator, as the people who are not voicing support for Moon now because of disappointment after the candidacy discussions wait to make a decision as the election draws closer.

Park also came out ahead within the margin of error, garnering 44.9% to Moon’s 36.9%, when respondents were asked who they would vote for in a multi-candidate race.

“Supporters of both Moon and Ahn wanted it to be a graceful decision, and there doesn’t seem to have been much of an effect from it because of all the intense conflict during the process,” said Lee Cheol-hee, director of the Dumun Political Strategy Institute.

But the fact that half of respondents were opposed to another Saenuri administration means the road ahead for Park isn’t entirely rosy.

When asked whether they planned to vote in December, 77.1% of respondents said “definitely,” while 8.5% said “probably.” Another 13.8% said they wouldn’t know until then. This indicates a sharp increase in the “wait and sees,” given that previous polls mostly showed “definitely” responses just above 90 percent.

“The main support base for Ahn Cheol-soo consisted of people in their twenties and thirties, non-partisans, and moderate-leaning voters,” explained KSOI chief analyst Yoon Hee-woong. “He basically opened up a kind of ‘blue ocean,’ and these people went straight back into the ‘no answer’ column as soon as he withdrew.”

The problem is the possibility that, depending on how the election unfolds, the swing voters who have traditionally been uninterested in politics won’t head to the polls at all. Park enjoys support mainly from those in their late 50s and older, Moon from those in their 40s and 50s. Neither has been able to successfully capture voters in their 20s and 30s.

“With such strong loyalty to Park Geun-hye among voters over 60, Moon’s election chances will hinge on how much he can inspire people in their 20s and 30s and moderates to get out and vote,” said Yoon Hee-woong.


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


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