Park's Approval Rating Stuck in Doldrums

  • By Hong Young-lim

    November 21, 2016 13:31

    President Park Geun-hye's approval rating languishes at a rock bottom five percent for the third straight week. A record 90 percent in a Gallup Korea poll out last Friday disapproved of her performance for a second week.

    Park's support is highest in Daejeon, Sejong City and the Chungcheong provinces at 11 percent, followed by seven percent in Busan, Ulsan, and South Gyeongsang Province, five percent in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, four percent in Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province, and zero in Gwangju and Jeolla provinces.

    Her approval rating in her traditional support base of Daegu and North Gyeongsang has dropped four percentage points since last week. But the poll has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percent because Gallup only asked 1,007 adults.

    Park Geun-hye

    There may also be what U.S. pundits have started to call "shy" support after the shock victory of president-elect Donald Trump, a choice many were embarrassed to admit to.

    Cheong Wa Dae and the pro-Park faction in the Saenuri Party seem to believe that the president still has significant "shy" support that would allow her to limp on in office and even grow as over time.

    But Jang Deok-hyun of Gallup Korea said shy support amounts to at most 10 percent since the official approval ratings of Park and her party are five and 15 percent.

    "Park can't hope for a significant enough approval rating to regain momentum even if shy supporters show up," Jang added.

    Shy Trump supporters also seem to have existed only in single digits. Bae Jong-chan of Research & Research said, "Shy voters normally show up in elections, but Park's is a different story because her approval ratings plummeted as a direct result of the scandal."

    Prof. Park Won-ho of Seoul National University said the whole concept may be inapplicable. "I don't think you can apply the concept of "shy" Trump supporters, which hasn't even been properly validated in the U.S., to Korea," he said.

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