Can Opposition Pact End Presidential Candidates' Neck-and-Neck Race?

  • By Kim Kyeong-pil

    March 03, 2022 12:53

    Opinion polls showed Korea's two leading presidential candidates still neck and neck the week before the two major opposition parties plumped for a single candidate at the last minute on Thursday.

    People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol only has a significant lead over Minjoo Party candidate Lee Jae-myung in one survey.

    But after the People's Party perennial candidate Ahn Cheol-soo decided to step aside in favor of Yoon early Thursday, his support of around five percent is up for grabs.

    Cable channel JTBC's poll last week showed Yoon ahead at 42.3 percent while Lee trailed him with 36.6 percent. The 5.7 percentage-point difference is bigger than the 3.1 percent margin of error these polls admit, but all others are less certain. Ahn scored 6.7 percent, and Justice Party candidate Sim Sang-jung 2.9 percent.

    Presidential candidates pose for a photo before a TV debate in Seoul on Wednesday. From left, Sim Sang-jung, Yoon Suk-yeol and Ahn Cheol-soo and Lee Jae-myung /Newsis

    But another poll by OBS puts Lee at 45 percent and Yoon at 44.9 percent, and the same poll a week earlier showed Yoon ahead of Lee by a mere 0.1 percentage point. Ahn's support rating stood at 5.1 percent and Sim’s at 1.5 percent.

    A Newsis poll puts Yoon at 46.3 percent and Lee at 43.1 percent, just outside the margin of error, while Ahn trailed behind with 6.7 percent and Sim with 1.9 percent.

    A poll by the Local Press Korea Association also shows Yoon ahead at 44.6 percent over Lee's 43.7 percent, just 0.9 percentage points apart, while Ahn followed with 7.4 percent and Sim with 1.9 percent.

    A New Daily poll gives Yoon a slightly more comfortable lead of 46.5 percent over Lee's 42.5 percent, while Ahn trailed behind with 6.4 percent and Sim with 2.1 percent.

    No more opinion polls can be published from Thursday until Koreans cast their ballots on March 9, so until election day, voters will remain in the dark about the effects of the opposition pact.

    Details of each poll are available at the website of the National Election Commission.

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