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Moon, ruling party’s approval ratings rebound

New Democratic Party of Korea Chairman Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)
New Democratic Party of Korea Chairman Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)

The ruling Democratic Party’s approval rating has bounced back to the 40 percent-level for the first time in nine weeks, widening the gap with the main opposition United Future Party to over 10 percentage points, a survey showed Monday.

According to the opinion poll conducted by Realmeter, the ruling party’s support increased 0.7 percentage points from a week ago to 40.4 percent, while that of the main opposition party dipped 5.0 percentage points to 30.1 percent.

The survey was carried out among 2,521 people across the country aged 18 and over between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.

The 10.3 percent rating gap between the two parties marks the first double-digit figure difference since the second week of July.

The result seemed to be attributed to a recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases here, which started from Aug. 14 mainly in the Greater Seoul metropolitan area, according to Realmeter.

“Public desire for disease control and the minimization of adverse economic impacts has led to support for the government and ruling party amid the resurgence of COVID-19,” the pollster said.

Seoul’s approval rating for the Democratic Party increased by 7.1 percentage points.

The weakened support for United Future Party seemed to be caused by an anti-government rally held in Gwanghwamun on Aug. 15, led by far-right groups and a church, which became a source of virus transmission although the party tried to distance itself from the protest, Realmeter said.

Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating rose 2.9 percentage points to 49.0 percent while the portion of those critical of his leadership slid 4.1 percentage point to 46.7 percent.

The poll results showed positive assessments of Moon’s presidency surpassing negative ones for the first time in seven weeks.

In particular, respondents in Daegu and surrounding North Gyeongsang Province, which were hit hard by COVID-19 in February and March, and elderly people, who are vulnerable and sensitive to the spread of the respiratory virus, gave positive assessments of the president.

By Park Han-na (