Candidates for the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy are leading in the three major regions of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, according to a poll for the three terrestrial networks KBS, SBS and MBC.
The poll was conducted over the weekend to gauge public support for candidates for 17 municipal mayors and provincial governors across the country ahead of the local elections on June 4.
The poll suggests the main opposition party would sweep the hotly contested Seoul metropolitan region.
In Seoul, the NPAD incumbent mayor Park Won-soon has a comfortable lead over the Saenuri Party's Chung Mong-joon with 51 percent to 35.4 percent. An earlier poll by Media Research for the Chosun Ilbo on May 12-13 gave Park 53.3 percent over Chung's 32.9 percent.
In Incheon, the NPAD's Song Young-gil leads Saenuri's Yoo Jeong-bok by 42.1 percent to 31.8 percent. In Gyeonggi Province, NPAD's Kim Jin-pyo (35.7 percent) is slightly ahead of Saenuri's Nam Kyung-pil (34.8 percent).
In a Media Research poll on April 12-13, before the ferry disaster, the ruling party candidates had a lead over their opposition rivals in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi, with only the race in Incheon being neck-and-neck.
Experts say the ruling party is bearing the brunt of public anger over the ferry tragedy. The ruling camp seemed to have bottomed out with President Park Geun-hye's public apology on Monday, but it is unclear whether this will be enough to turn the tables.
The latest poll was conducted jointly by Media Research, TNS and R&R for the three terrestrial networks, sampling 1,000 voters each in Seoul and Gyeonggi and 800 each in the 15 other cities and provinces.