Floating Voters Make Less of a Mark Than Expected

There were fewer floating voters than expected in the local elections on Thursday, which meant the results more or less reflected earlier opinion polls.

In Seoul, the most important region, current Mayor Park Won-soon of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy easily beat his elderly challenger Chung Mong-joon from the Saenuri Party.

A poll by Research & Research for TNS Korea on May 26 had put Park at 48.7 percent to Chung's 34.9 percent.

As of Thursday morning, when about 96.4 percent of the votes counted, Park had about 56 percent with 2.64 million votes, while Jung took 43.2 percent with 2.03 million votes.

Experts had warned of floating voters who could sway the results at the last minute, but that did not come to pass.

Their influence was more keenly felt in Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, where Saenuri candidates won more votes than the polls predicted. And in Daejeon and Sejong, opposition candidates outpaced their ruling party rivals despite poll forecasts.

Saenuri and the NPAD led in five provinces and metropolitan areas each, according to exit polls by KBS, MBC, and SBS announced right after voting came to a close. Saenuri was leading in Daegu, Ulsan, North and South Gyeongsang provinces and Jeju, while the NPAD was ahead in Seoul, Sejong, North and South Jeolla Provinces, and Gwangju.

The race was close in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, Daejeon, North and South Chungcheong provinces, Gangwon Province, and Busan.

In many cases in the past parliamentary elections, the exit polls were inaccurate, but this time they were mostly spot-on.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 05, 2014 12:50 KST