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Panic at the DP

Apr 07,2017
We are concerned about the Democratic Party’s reaction to the results of a poll on a two-way race between its presidential candidate Moon Jae-in and the candidate of the People’s Party, Ahn Cheol-soo. After a poll showed Ahn with a meaningful lead over Moon, DP floor leader Woo Sang-ho attacked it, saying that an opinion survey based on an unlikely election alliance scenario does not make sense. His argument is nonsense.

Polls on a projected two-way race involving leading presidential candidates have long been conducted in this country without any objections. In the 2002 presidential election, for instance, the media conducted a poll about two leading candidates — Lee Hoi-chang from the ruling Grand National Party and Roh Moo-hyun from the opposition Democratic Party — and the DP gladly quoted its results after it showed Roh’s lead over Lee. Such polls on projected two-way races continued until the 2012 presidential election. At the time, the DP pressured Ahn to give up his bid for the presidency citing the results of the survey.

Such examples are plenty. The media continued to announce the results of projected two-way races between former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Moon Jae-in and between acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn and Moon in this election. At the time, Ban and Hwang hadn’t even formally announced presidential bids. (Both eventually dropped out of the race.) Nevertheless, the DP has been enjoying Moon’s dominance without raising any objection to two-way polls after the results showed a comfortable lead over Moon’s potential challengers.

The DP’s opposition to polls on two-way races is nothing but a double-standard. The DP raises questions about the way the polls are conducted — questions ask respondents to choose their favorite candidate without explaining such variables as electoral alliances. That’s silly.

The current situation points in the direction of a two-way race between Moon and Ahn. Opinion polls show that even if those two candidates compete in a more crowded race, the two leaders end up clashing in a neck-and-neck race within a margin of error.

We wonder if the DP is really attempting to pressure the media to change its survey methods. That’s nothing but sneakiness. We understand the DP’s sense of crisis stemming from the increasingly narrow gap between Moon and Ahn in the polls. But the DP must fight the battle with Ahn based on its commitments to policies, not polls.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 7, Page 30