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Moon’s approval hits lowest since election

Apr 06,2019
President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating has hit the lowest level of his presidency while his disapproval rating reached its highest point, according to a Gallup Korea poll released on Friday.

According to the weekly poll, Moon’s approval rating was 41 percent and 49 percent gave negative responses to Moon’s performance.

Moon’s approval rating, which skyrocketed in his early months of the presidency, has now dropped to the level of the share of votes he won in the presidential election two years ago. Moon has lost additional supporters, mostly moderates, that he had attracted since he first took office.

Moon started his presidency in May 2017 with an over 80 percent approval rating and maintained strong figures throughout his first year. In May 2018, shortly after Moon’s first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, his approval rating was 83 percent, according to Gallup Korea.

Compared to last week, Moon’s approval rating dropped by 2 percent, while his disapproval rating went up by 3 percent. The difference of 8 percentage points between Moon’s approval rating and the disapproval rating is higher than the margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

According to the poll, Moon had a higher disapproval rating than approval rating in all regions except for Gwangju and the Jeolla region.

The polling company said that the further decline of Moon’s approval rating was caused by his spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom’s real estate speculation scandal and the president’s minister nomination fiasco. Political speculation is growing that Moon’s influence will be significantly diminished and a so-called lame duck period will start if his approval rating falls below 30 percent. Respondents were most dissatisfied with Moon for his failures to resolve economic and livelihood issues. About 38 percent said they disapprove of Moon for this reason.

Another 14 percent said they disapprove of Moon because he was too occupied with North Korea issues and his pro-North policy. Another 6 percent said they were dissatisfied with the unemployment crisis, while another 5 percent said they disapprove of Moon for his nomination failures.

Among those who viewed Moon’s performance positively, 16 percent said they were happy with Moon’s efforts to improve relations with the North and 11 percent said they were satisfied with his foreign affairs policy. According to the poll, 37 percent of respondents support the ruling Democratic Party, while 25 percent said they support no political party. The Liberty Korea Party had the support of 23 percent of the respondents, while the Justice Party had 9 percent, Bareunmirae Party 6 percent and the Party for Democracy and Peace 1 percent.

The poll was conducted from April 2 to 4, and its confidence level is 95 percent.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]