President Moon Jae-in in a file photo (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has bounced back to over 40 percent, driven mainly by his New Year's address, Realmeter said Monday.
In the tracking poll of 2,510 voters nationwide from last Monday to Friday, Moon's job approval rating rose 5.1 percentage points to 43.0 percent.
It marks the first time that the rating has topped 40 percent in eight weeks in the Seoul-based pollster's survey. Moon's approval had been on the decline since recording 43.8 percent in the fourth week of November.
A Realmeter official cited Moon's press conference held a week earlier, in which he answered a string of questions on high-profile pending issues, including whether to grant special pardons to two of his predecessors -- Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak, as a possible reason for the rebound.
Moon said it is not an appropriate time yet to discuss the matter, effectively putting an end to media speculation and political disputes that had been rampant for a few weeks.
The proportion of respondents critical of his presidency fell 4.4 percentage points to 53.2 percent, according to Realmeter. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.
Public support for the ruling Democratic Party (DP) gained 1.9 percentage points to 32.8 percent, while that for the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) dipped 3.3 percentage points to 28.6 percent. It is the first time that the DP's rating has exceeded the PPP's in eight weeks.
The poll results came as the rival parties faced uphill by-election battles for the mayoralties of Seoul and Busan, the two biggest cities of South Korea, slated for April 7. (Yonhap)