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Voters moving away from GNP before elections

Mar 22,2008
One out of three people who supported President Lee Myung-bak’s election have changed their minds about his party and will not vote for the Grand National Party in the April legislative elections, according to a new poll released yesterday.
The result is a significant reversal. Just three months ago anything Lee touched seemed to turn to political gold. He won the election by 5.3 million votes and it seemed guaranteed that the Grand National Party would sweep the April 9 National Assembly elections with a massive majority.
The new poll, conducted by telephone by the JoongAng Ilbo, SBS, EAI and Korea Research between last Sunday and Tuesday, asked a group of people who said they backed Lee in a December poll if they will vote for the GNP again in April.
In December, 666 people out of 1,370 said they supported Lee. But when asked again, just 63 percent of those people said they will vote for the GNP. The remainder said they support a different party or have not yet decided.
Another disturbing sign for the GNP is that the party’s support rate, which shot up to 47.6 percent after the presidential election, has fallen to 39.8 percent.
Many respondents said they were wary of one party acquiring too much power (40.3 percent), while others said they feel disappointed by what the Lee administration has done so far (23.8 percent). Another 13.4 percent said they were displeased with the GNP’s performance.
Only 11.9 percent said they felt the opposition party was doing a good enough job to cause them to change their minds.
“The recent presidential election is not likely to influence this year’s general election,” said Kim Hyeong-jun, a political science professor at Myongji University, pointing out that many people feel a need to check the power of the president, a change from the past.
When a presidential election and an Assembly election are held closely together, there has been a tendency for the presidential election to influence the legislative polls, as happened in 1987 and 1988.
Critics say that voters are turning their backs after a series of announcements by Lee’s government and his transition team at the beginning of the year. In an Internet poll, the public felt disturbed over Lee’s support for a plan to emphasize teaching more English in schools and the fact that his cabinet ministers were found to be quite wealthy, while some were involved in ethical miscues.


By Shin Chang-woon JoongAng Ilbo [mina@joongang.co.kr]



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