September 23, 2019 13:05
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has fallen to 40 percent amid a massive scandal surrounding the appointment of his new justice minister.
Public anger at his appointment of scandal-ridden Cho Kuk appears to have hurt more than the dismal economic outlook.
A Gallup Korea survey on Friday showed 40 percent of the public viewing Moon as doing a good job, down three percentage points since a poll before Chuseok, while 53 percent said he is doing a bad job, up four percentage points. Seven percent had no opinion to offer.
This is the first time his approval rating fell below the 41 percent of votes he garnered to become president in May 2017, while his disapproval rating rose past 50 percent.
The survey showed 29 percent of voters dissatisfied with his appointment of officials, while 20 percent are unhappy with how he is handling the economy and 10 percent are tired of his dogmatic and unilateral policy style.
When it comes to Cho, a clear majority of 54 percent feel he is unfit to serve as justice minister, while only 36 percent support him.
The survey was conducted on 1,000 adults nationwide from last Tuesday to Thursday.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said, "It would be a bigger problem to grow despondent or lose direction because of falling approval ratings. It's at times like this that the government must diligently do what it needs to do."
But a key ruling party official admitted, "The survey shows approval ratings among our key supporters declined sharply. We are taking the situation very seriously."
Meanwhile, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party held a rally in downtown Seoul on Saturday calling on Cho to step down and demanding an apology from Moon.
Key LKP lawmakers including leader Hwang Kyo-ahn as well as some 50,000 supporters attended the rally. But the opposition remains split, and Bareun Mirae Party leader Sohn Hak-kyu held a separate candlelight rally in downtown Seoul the same day.
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