Parsing referendum’s voter turnout

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Parsing referendum’s voter turnout

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Mayor Oh Se-hoon and the Grand National Party’s stinging rebuke in Wednesday’s free school lunch referendum in Seoul stemmed from their failure to attract independent voters, political analysts said, in a sign of the ruling party’s sagging popularity ahead of next year’s general and presidential elections.

The referendum to decide the scope of the city’s controversial free school meal program recorded a turnout of 25.7 percent, far lower than the minimum one-third of eligible voters that would have validated the vote.

A total of 2,157,772 people voted in the referendum, compared to 2.08 million votes Oh received to be re-elected in June 2010, indicating that the mayor’s referendum was mainly supported by the same people who voted him into office.

“The GNP is losing popularity among politically neutral people given the fact that most districts didn’t record turnout of more than 30 percent,” said Kim Mi-hyeon, a senior researcher at DSR Company. “Furthermore, the referendum strengthened the GNP’s image of being the party of rich people in Gangnam, which could have a negative impact on the party before next year’s two elections.”

Just two districts saw voter turnout over the minimum threshold - 35.4 percent in Gangnam District and 36.2 percent in Seocho District, traditional bastions of the wealthy and conservative. Poorer districts such as Geumcheon and Gwanak recorded only about 20 percent voter turnout.

“This referendum was a litmus test of the party’s popularity ahead of the upcoming presidential election,” said Lee Taek-su, CEO of Realmeter. “As about 40 percent of Seoul residents support the GNP, it seems that only 70 percent of them participated in the referendum.”

Before final turnout figures were announced Wednesday night, Hong Joon-pyo, the GNP Chairman, said that anything over 25 percent would be a “green signal” for victory in next year’s presidential election because most referendum voters would be GNP supporters. Hong also pointed out that presidential elections usually see less than a 50 percent turnout.

Yet, despite gaining 60,000 more votes in three wealthy southern Seoul districts on Wednesday than in his re-election last year, Oh lost more than 9,000 votes in eight other districts.

“If the GNP gets the same number of votes in next year’s election as they did in the referendum, about 25 percent, it would be difficult for the party to occupy a majority of parliamentary seats,” he said.


By Jung Hyo-sik, Kang Ki-heon [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

타워팰리스 59.7%…최종 투표율 2배 넘어

무상급식 주민투표 분석해보니 …
송파구, 최고·최저차 32%P
강남도 동네마다 투표율 큰 차


24일 실시된 서울시 무상급식 주민투표에서 타워팰리스가 들어선 강남구 도곡2동 제4투표소의 투표율이 59.7%에 달했다. 19세 이상 유권자 10명 중 6명이 투표에 참여한 것이다. 이는 도곡2동 전체 투표율인 48.3%보다도 높은 수치다. 동별로 가장 투표율이 높은 곳은 아시아선수촌아파트가 있는 송파구 잠실7동으로 51.9%를 기록했다. 반면에 투표율이 가장 낮은 동은 종로구 창신2동(13.4%)이었다.

 강남·서초·송파 등 강남 3구는 평균 투표율은 높았지만 구별 속사정은 달랐다. 서초구는 양재2동(22.7%)을 빼고는 전반적으로 투표율이 엇비슷했다. 그러나 송파구는 가장 투표율이 높은 동과 낮은 동의 차이가 32.2%포인트에 달했다.

 25일 서울시 선거관리위원회에 따르면 투표율 편차가 가장 적은 구는 동대문구였다. 동대문구는 최고·최저 투표율을 기록한 동의 투표율 차이가 6.2%포인트였다. 이번 투표가 정치적 성향에 따라 참여 여부가 갈린 점을 감안하면 동대문구는 가장 비슷한 정치성향을 가진 주민들이 모여 사는 곳으로 볼 수 있다. 동작·노원·강북구도 동별 편차가 크지 않은 지역이었다. 반면에 한두 개 동이 정치적 섬을 이룬 구들도 있었다. 광진구 광장동이 대표적이다. 광진구 전체의 투표율은 24.1%였고, 15개 동 중 14곳의 투표율이 주민투표가 성립되기 위한 유효 투표율(33.3%)을 넘지 못했다.

그러나 광장동만 33.8%의 투표율로 이를 넘어섰다. 손종락 광장동장은 “이 지역은 워커힐아파트 등 아파트 밀집지역으로 일반적인 선거에서도 투표율이 높은 편”이라고 설명했다. 흔히 ‘동부이촌동’으로 불리는 이촌1동은 40.5%의 투표율을 기록해 용산구 전체 투표율(26.8%)을 훌쩍 넘었다. 영등포구 여의도동(39.8%), 양천구 목5동(39.4%)의 투표율도 주변 지역에 비해 도드라졌다. 모두 아파트 단지가 밀집한 곳이다.

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