October 17, 2012 12:30
Approval ratings for the three main presidential candidates appear to be consolidating with just 63 days left before the election. Pollsters said approval ratings fluctuated during the Chuseok holidays in late September, but have remained largely unchanged in October.
Independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, main opposition Democratic United Party candidate Moon Jae-in and ruling Saenuri Party contender Park Geun-hye are neck and neck, and results are similar in any hypothetical two-way race.
There seem to be no major policy issues that can affect support ratings. There is little clear blue water between the three candidates on issues like North Korea, the wealth divide, and business reform.
"In this election, none of the candidates are putting forward significant policy issues or political views that set them apart," said Kang Won-taek at Seoul National University. To frustrated pollsters this is the hardest election yet to predict.
Experts say the three-way stalemate will continue unless and until either Ahn or Moon decide to step down in favor of the other to unite the progressive camp.
"We will probably have to wait until pressure to field a single opposition candidate reaches its peak," said a source close to the software tycoon. This could happen just before Nov. 25, when registration of presidential candidates takes place, or even afterwards.
There is also little time to discuss how to decide a single candidate, leaving opinion polls as the likeliest option.
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