Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and ruling party candidate Lee Jae-myung are running neck and neck with 42.4 percent and 41.9 percent support, respectively, a poll showed Wednesday.
The survey by Hangil Research was conducted on 1,009 adults from Saturday to Monday, just before the start of the official campaign period on Tuesday.
Yoon of the conservative People Power Party gained 3.9 percentage points from the pollster's previous survey conducted Feb. 2, while Lee of the liberal Democratic Party gained 1.5 points.
In third place was Ahn Cheol-soo of the minor opposition People's Party at 7.2 percent, followed by Sim Sang-jeung of the minor progressive Justice Party at 2 percent.
In the hypothetical scenario of Yoon absorbing Ahn's campaign, Yoon beat Lee 47.4 percent to 43.7 percent, while in the scenario of Ahn absorbing Yoon's campaign, Lee beat Ahn 40.4 percent to 33.4 percent.
Just over half of the respondents, or 50.7 percent, said they wished to see a change of government through the March 9 election, while 40.6 percent preferred an extension of the DP's rule.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. (Yonhap)
For more information regarding the survey results go to the National Election Survey Deliberation Commission homepage.