Sohn’s presidential hopes rising, says poll

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Sohn’s presidential hopes rising, says poll

Democratic Party Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu’s star is rising as a presidential contender, though Grand National Party former Chairwoman Park Geun-hye maintained her lead as the most likely next president, according to the latest opinion poll.

According to a nationwide phone survey of 1,000 adults conducted on Tuesday by Dongseo Research, 31.5 percent of respondents said Park was most appropriate person to be the next president. Sohn came in second with 11.8 percent, the first time Sohn’s support has surpassed 10 percent since the 2007 presidential election.

The poll had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon was ranked third with 8.2 percent, while Rhyu Si-min, former health and welfare minister in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, was ranked fourth with 7.2 percent. Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo received 6.5 percent, while Roh’s former prime minister, Han Myeong-sook, garnered 5.4 percent.

Asked who should be the opposition candidate in the next presidential election, Sohn was backed by 33.3 percent, while Rhyu ranked second with 12.8 percent. Lee Hoi-chang, head of the conservative opposition Liberty Forward Party and former two-time GNP presidential candidate (losing to Kim Dae-jung and Roh), was backed by 11.2 percent.

Within the GNP, Park maintained her lead with 42.7 percent, while Oh came in a distant second with 13.2 percent.

The Democratic Party elected Sohn as chairman on Sunday and his approval rating was rising ahead of the election. In the poll, 71.6 percent said Sohn will do a good job as DP head.

Sohn, a 63-year-old former three-term lawmaker, served as Gyeonggi governor from 2002 to 2006 under the Grand National Party. He left the ruling party in 2007 after he dropped out of the presidential primary against President Lee Myung-bak and former GNP Chairwoman Park. Months later, he joined the Democratic Party and competed in a primary to become its presidential candidate, but lost to Chung Dong-young.

The next presidential election will be held in 2012, and no political heavyweight has announced a run yet. But Sohn has linked his DP leadership win with the presidential race.

“I will revive the spirit of Kim Dae-jung and the values of Roh Moo-hyun to win back six million votes lost [in the 2007 election],” Sohn said.

“By winning the DP chairmanship, Sohn clearly beat his rivals and rose as a strong presidential contender,” said Kim Mi-hyeon of Dongseo Research.

By Ser Myo-ja, Jung Hyo-sik []
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