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Park's approval rating continues to decline over scandal

A new opinion poll indicated on Monday that South Korean President Park Geun-hye's approval rating remained in the doldrums amid an influence-peddling scandal involving her confidante, although her support from conservative and senior citizens managed to edge up after her second apology.

Real Meter, a local pollster, said her approval rating plunged 7.5 percentage points to 11.5 percent, the lowest figure ever compiled by the pollster, last week.

The figure marks a historic low among Korean presidents surveyed by the company. The previous lowest record was held by late president Roh Moo-hyun, whose approval rating once hovered at 12.6 percent.

The poll was conducted from Monday to Friday last week with 2,528 adults across the country, with a 1.9 percent margin of error.

Despite the overall erosion of support, Park appeared to regain approval from conservatives after she apologized for a second time Friday. Her approval rating that day increased to 28.4 percent from 23.5 percent from the previous day among respondents aged 60 and above, and to 42.6 percent from 36.9 percent among traditional backers of the ruling Saenuri Party.

A separate poll by Gallup Korea last week showed her approval rating plummeted to 5 percent, the lowest for sitting South Korean presidents.

In the Real Meter poll, the main opposition Democratic Party garnered an approval rating of 33 percent, beating the ruling party's 21.4 percent for a second consecutive week. The minor opposition People's Party held 15.8 percent.

Moon Jae-in, former head of the main opposition, emerged as the most favored potential contender for next year's presidential race with an approval rating of 20.9 percent. He was trailed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who posted 17.1 percent, and Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former head of the People's Party, who received 10.7 percent. (Yonhap)

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