March 14, 2012 13:23
A growing number of Koreans in their 40s hold the progressive political views typical of people in their 20 and 30s, bucking the usual trend of becoming more conservative as they grow older.
The spring issue of the academic quarterly Zeitgeist analyzed the views of people in their 20s to 40s due to a clear trend toward the Left in recent elections and local referendums. Forty-somethings account for more than three-fifths of eligible voters.
"Just 10 years ago, the decisive factor in Korea's political landscape was regional affiliation, but recently the generational problem has emerged as a key issue," said Yoon Pyung-joong at Hanshin University. "While those in their 20s and 30s support progressive views and voters in their 50s and 60s tend to be conservative, people in their 40s have become the key factor in elections this year."
Why are voters in their 40s siding with younger people? "Those in their 40s feel a bond with those in 20s and 30s because they have witnessed economic crises and job instability amid globalization and advancing technology, while older generations in their 50s and 60s benefitted from Korea's rapid industrialization and the ensuing economic growth," said Park Jae-chang at Sookmyung Women's University.
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