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Gyeonggi governor stays on top of presidential preference survey

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung is firmly at the top of the recent presidential preference survey, widening the gap with two other high-profile figures, ruling Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Lee Nak-yon and Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, a poll showed Sunday.

In a survey conducted by broadcaster SBS on 1,002 people aged 18 or older nationwide for four days from Feb. 6 to 9, Gov. Lee, who belongs to the Democratic Party of Korea, ranked first with a 28.6 percent approval in potential presidential candidates.

Rep. Lee came in second with 13.7 percent and Yoon came in third with 13.5 percent.

Rep. Hong Joon-pyo, former leader of the Liberty Korea Party, a predecessor of the main opposition People Power Party, followed with a 5.3 percent preference. The approval of Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae were in the 1 percent range.

Gov. Lee’s approval rating rose by 5 percentage points from the previous month while Democratic Party head Lee and Yoon dropped 3 percentage points and 5 percentage points, respectively.

Lee Jae-myung received the highest support from all ages, including those in their 40s (42.2 percent), 50s (31.8 percent) and 30s (31.7 percent), excluding those aged 60 or older.

The governor, who has often revealed his political views through his social media account, is facing political headwinds even from the ruling party after increasing the frequency of posting related to basic income.

Last week, he again said there was a need for basic income, saying on his Facebook account, “A basic income of 1 million won ($903) per person per year is possible within a few years.”

He said that for quarterly payments of 250,000 won per person, the country needs around 50 trillion won to 60 trillion won per year. This can be provided by adjusting the nation’s general budget and reducing the annual tax reduction by half.

Gov. Lee’s providing basic disaster income to all of its residents in Gyeonggi Province has also drawn controversy from some lawmakers who view it as populism.

This month, Gyeonggi Province Government has provided the second basic disaster income to all residents with 100,000 won per person to help them overcome the pandemic, following the first one in April of last year.

According to the recent poll, 45.5 percent of the respondents said it was desirable for the ruling party to stay in power in the coming presidential election. The percentage of respondents who hoped a change of government was at a similar level, at 46 percent.

The party’s approval rating was 38.5 percent for the Democratic Party of Korea and 20.8 percent for People Power Party. It was followed by three minor parties, the People’s Party (6.1 percent), the Justice Party (5.3 percent) and the Open Democratic Party (4.5 percent).

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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