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In latest election poll, liberals are in command

Mar 21,2017
In the latest JoongAng Ilbo election poll, following Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn’s decision last week not to run in the race, former Democratic Party floor leader Moon Jae-in received the highest approval rating with 34.7 percent, followed by South Chungcheong Governor An Hee-jung with 21 percent and Ahn Cheol-soo, former chairman of the People’s Party, with 13 percent.

All are liberals. An is part of the main opposition Democratic Party.

Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party ranked fourth with 8.1 percent. South Gyeongsang Governor Hong Joon-pyo, a member of former President Park Geun-hye’s Liberty Korea Party, came in fifth with 7.7 percent, the only conservative candidate in the top five spots.

The survey was answered over the weekend by 2,000 nationwide voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent. The presidential election will take place 49 days later on May 9. Prime Minister Hwang, who’s also serving as acting president, was once the highest-ranking conservative in the election polls, hovering around a mid-10 percent range although he never officially announced his bid.

Hwang, a strong apologist for former President Park, announced last Wednesday he wouldn’t run in the election, saying he felt responsibility not to “delay or neglect efforts to manage the current crisis and stabilize state affairs.”

When asked who they support, 64 percent among 898 Democratic Party supporters in the JoongAng Ilbo poll answered they were behind Moon Jae-in. Moon was followed by An Hee-jung with 22.7 percent and Lee Jae-myung with 12.4 percent.

On the same question, Hong Joon-pyo ranked first with 56.3 percent among 212 Liberty Korea Party supporters, followed by Chuncheon representative lawmaker Kim Jin-tae with 16.4 percent.

Out of 206 respondents favoring the People’s Party, 87.8 percent said they backed Ahn Cheol-soo. Sohn Hak-kyu ranked second with 8.5 percent and Park Joo-sun third with 1.3 percent.

Among the 98 people who said they would vote for a candidate from the Bareun Party, a breakaway from the Liberty Korea Party, 64.7 percent replied they supported Yoo Seong-min in the party primary, followed by Nam Kyung-pil, with 22.1 percent.

When asked who they would vote for if the presidential finalists were Moon Jae-in, Ahn Cheol-soo, Hong Joon-pyo and Yoo Seong-min - the strongest candidates so far from each party - 49 percent chose Moon. Ahn was next with 23.5 percent, followed by Hong with 13.2 percent and Yoo with 6.1 percent. On party approval ratings, the Democratic Party took the lead with 45 percent, Liberty Korea Party with 10.6 percent, People’s Party with 10 percent and Bareun Party with 4.8 percent. The Justice Party garnered 4 percent.

BY SEO SEUNG-WOOK, CHAE YOON-KYUNG, JUNG HYO-SIK [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]