Lee Jae-myung tops new poll of presidential hopefuls, widens lead

Posted on : 2021-02-19 17:30 KST Modified on : 2021-02-19 17:30 KST
DP leader Lee Nak-yon and Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl followed the Gyeonggi governor
Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung gets his temperature checked before a housing policy debate at GLAD Hotel in Seoul on Jan. 26. (photo pool)
Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung gets his temperature checked before a housing policy debate at GLAD Hotel in Seoul on Jan. 26. (photo pool)

In a survey by four polling organizations about the job fitness of the top contenders for South Korea’s next presidential election, Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung widened his lead over Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon and Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl.

Embrain Public, Kstat Research, Korea Research, and Hankook Research canvassed 1,007 adults around the country on Feb. 15-17 about which of the leading contenders is best suited to be the next president (95% confidence level, margin of error ±3.1%). Lee Jae-myung came on top at 27%, trailed by Lee Nak-yon at 12% and Yoon at 8%.

Further behind were People Party leader Ahn Cheol-soo (5%), independent lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo (5%), former Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon (2%) and former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min (2%).

Lee Jae-myung’s job fitness rating held steady from a poll two weeks ago, while Lee Nak-yon and Yoon’s ratings slipped by two points and one point, respectively.

When asked about the by-elections coming up in April, respondents were split down the middle about whether the administration needs to be taught a lesson (41%) or whether governing stability is most important (40%).

But in the regions where by-elections are being held — namely, Seoul and Busan — respondents who want to share their discontent with the current administration (45%, 44%) outnumbered those who prefer stability (35%, 40%). (In data collection, Busan residents were lumped in with people living in nearby Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province.)

As for party affiliation, the ruling Democratic Party claimed the most support, at 34%, followed by the People Power Party (23%), the Justice Party (5%), the People Party (5%) and the Open Democratic Party (4%). This poll reported an identical level of support for the Democratic Party to the poll two weeks earlier, while the People Power Party saw its support rise by three points. 28% of respondents said they were unaffiliated or weren’t sure which party they supported.

When asked about Moon Jae-in’s job performance as president, 42% gave a positive assessment and 49% a negative one. Compared to two weeks before, positive ratings for Moon dropped four points, while negative ratings rose by three. This was the first time this year that Moon’s approval rating has nosed downward in the four-party poll.

The poll also asked respondents what they think about the impeachment of judge Lim Seong-geun for his role in a judicial scandal. While approval for Lim’s impeachment (26%) exceeded disapproval (21%) by greater than the margin of error, most respondents showed little interest in the issue (22% didn’t care, and 32% weren’t sure).

More details can be found on the website of the National Election Survey Deliberation Commission.

By Kim Mi-na, staff reporter

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

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