January 26, 2018 12:35
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating fell below 60 percent for the first time, according to a survey Thursday.
Realmeter polled 1,509 adults across the country from Monday to Wednesday and found that 59.8 percent still feel Moon is doing a good job, a decline of 6.2 percentage points from only last week. But 35.6 percent feel he is doing a bad job, up 6.3 percentage points.
The plunge seems to stem from the double whammy of an unpopular crackdown on Bitcoin speculation and the government bending over backwards to accommodate North Korea for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In the Daegu and North Gyeongsang regions, a traditional bastion of the conservatives, Moon's approval rating plunged a whopping 16 percent. But it also fell 5.9 percentage points in the Gwangju and Jeolla region, which is a liberal stronghold.
It fell 4.2 percentage points among people in their 20s and 6.2 percentage points among those in their 30s, who his main support base. Among those in their 40s it nosedived 9.4 percentage points.
The honeymoon appears to be over. Realmeter put Moon's approval rating at a whopping 84.1 percent in May 2017, when he was one month into the presidency, and it remained between 65 and 75 percent until the end of last year.
"While there had already been controversies over the North's Olympics participation, such as forming a joint women's ice hockey team, disapproval of the Moon administration grew with the visit of a delegation led by [bandleader] Hyon Song-wol and the North preparing a military parade on the eve of the Olympics," Realmeter said.
A Cheong Wa Dae official said, "We humbly accept the public sentiment."
The presidential office hopes Moon's approval rating will rise again once government spending on job growth and support for the minimum wage hike go into effect.
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