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Gyeonggi governor takes lead in presidential polls

Member of People Power Party’s old guard rises as major contender

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

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung is leading the polls among the four major candidates for next year’s presidential election, a survey showed Friday.

According to a poll conducted by Gallup Korea, Lee is in the lead, with 34 percent of survey respondents saying they have favorable sentiment toward the Gyeonggi governor.

Lee was followed by former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl at 30 percent and Rep. Hong Joon-pyo at 28 percent. Both Yoon and Hong are vying to become the presidential candidate for the main opposition People Power Party.

Lee Nak-yon, a former prime minister and ruling party lawmaker, came in last with 24 percent. The former prime minister is trailing behind Lee Jae-myung in the ruling party’s primaries.

In the main opposition party’s race, Hong has made significant headway in recent weeks. In a Gallup Korea poll conducted in March, only 12 percent of respondents expressed favorable sentiment toward Hong, but the figure has more than doubled in six months, placing him only 2 percentage points behind Yoon.

While the election is still six months away and the parties have yet to decide their candidates, Lee of Gyeonggi Province appears to have an advantage for the time being.

The most recent Gallup Korea poll asked respondents to choose a candidate in four hypothetical presidential races -- Lee Jae-myung against Yoon, Lee Jae-myung against Hong, Lee Nak-yon against Yoon and Lee Nak-yon against Hong. Lee Jae-myung won against both potential conservative candidates, while the results were flipped for Lee Nak-yon.

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