August 18, 2020 11:30
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has fallen to the lowest level since he took office in 2017, and the distance between the ruling and main opposition party has melted away to nothing.
In a Gallup Korea poll of 1,001 people between Aug. 11 and 13, Moon scored an approval rating of just 39 percent, while 53 percent said they have a negative view of his performance.
Moon's approval rating also plummeted to 39 percent in October 2019 amid the scandal surrounding fly-by-night justice minister Cho Kuk. It peaked at 71 percent after the ruling Minoo Party's sweeping victory in the general election in April.
Minjoo's approval rating stood at 33 percent, while the United Future Party's rating was 27 percent, evaporating a difference of 29 percentage points in early May.
Some 45 percent of respondents agreed that an opposition candidate should become the next president in 2022, while only 41 percent favored a ruling-party candidate to continue the current administration's policies.
But the support ratings of any of the lusterless opposition hopefuls are as yet low. Prosecutor-General Yoon Seok-youl ranked at the top with an approval rating of a measly nine percent, but that was still up two percentage points from a week earlier.
Next were perpetual also-ran Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party with three percent and independent lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo with two percent.
Among hopefuls from the ruling camp, former prime minister Lee Nak-yon and Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung command double-digit support.
The main reason for Moon's dismal showing is the government's draconian real-estate policies, which have badly backfired. Some 65 percent said the government was doing a poor job of handling real estate policies, while only 18 percent were in favor.
But the presidential office affected to be unfazed. A high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said, "We will continue steadfastly to focus all of our efforts to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, flood damage and stabilizing housing prices."
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