[News Focus] Pessimists outnumber advocates over Moon in most areas

By Kim Yon-se

But Democratic Party still takes lead over Liberty Korea Party: polls

  • Published : Feb 16, 2020 - 16:05
  • Updated : Feb 17, 2020 - 06:18

A group of South Korean voters residing overseas pose in New York last year at a gathering to promote active participation in casting ballots for the general election, slated for April 15. (A US unit of the solidarity for Korean voters overseas)

SEJONG – More people have a negative assessment of President Moon Jae-in’s performance than a positive one, a recent poll has shown.

According to the survey by Gallup Korea, which was released on Saturday, the approval rating for the president was 44 percent across the country. In contrast, the disapproval rating for him rose to 49 percent.

By region, in particular, Moon’s approval rating was outstripped by disapproval ratings in most major cities and provinces, excepting Gwangju and the Jeolla provinces.

The gap between approval and disapproval was the highest in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province with 34 percent vs. 60 percent, followed by Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province with 37 percent vs. 55 percent.

Markedly, residents in Sejong, Daejeon and the Chungcheong provinces have shifted their position to become pessimists overall, while they had been relatively faithful supporters of Moon. This month, their approval and disapproval ratings posted 36 percent and 51 percent, as an apparent reversal.

Also in Seoul, though the percentage of advocates and pessimists were similar, the approval was outstripped by disapproval within the margin of error by 44 percent vs. 48 percent. Gyeonggi Province-Incheon followed suit with 46 percent vs. 48 percent.

Only in Gwangju-Jeolla provinces did advocates outnumber pessimists -- by 69 percent to 29 percent. The pollster did not include results for Gangwon and Jeju provinces due to their small sample sizes.
(Graphic by Han Chang-duck/The Korea Herald)

By sex, the portion of advocates and pessimists were 42 percent vs. 50 percent among men, while the figures among women were 46 percent vs. 47 percent.

By generation, the gap was the highest among those aged 60 or over with 36 percent approving vs. 59 percent disapproving, followed by those in their 50s by 40 percent vs. 54 percent, and those aged between 18-29 by 41 percent vs. 46 percent.

Nonetheless, those in their 40s and 30s were still faithful to Moon, with those approving outnumbering those who do not by 56 percent vs. 40 percent and 53 percent vs. 39 percent, respectively.

By job, the disapproval rating was the highest among homemakers at 58 percent (34 percent in approval), followed by retirees or jobless people at 57 percent (39 percent in approval).

More than 20 percent of the pessimists across the nation picked the president’s “lack of ability in economic affairs” for the main reason of their expressing disapproval, and 12 percent of them picked “overall incompetence.”

As the third, 6 percent of the pessimists mentioned Moon’s “insolvent countermeasures against the novel coronavirus” from China as the main factor.

Meanwhile, the Gallup Korea poll showed that the support ratings for the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party posted 37 percent and 21 percent, respectively, as of Feb. 11-13.

While minor opposition parties saw their support ratings stay at 5 percent (the Justice Party) or under, 27 percent of the surveyed 1,000 people said they did not support any party or were still undecided. This may be regarded as swing voters in the coming April 15 general election.

In the Realmeter survey, which was released last Friday, the approval ratings gap between the Democratic Party and Liberty Korea Party has narrowed to below 10 percentage points -- 40.3 percent for the ruling party and 31.1 percent for the main opposition.

The results by the two major pollsters indicates that the ruling party is still securing its steady lead over the main opposition despite the rising negative assessment on the president.

The support ratings for the ruling party (37 percent in the Gallup Korea poll and 40.3 percent according to Realmeter) was similar to Moon garnering 41.08 percent of the votes in the 2017 presidential election.

In the Realmeter survey, the Democratic Party outpolled the Liberty Korea Party in most areas, excepting the Yeongnam area, which comprises Daegu, Ulsan, Busan and the Gyeongsang provinces.

By Kim Yon-se (