Ahn way ahead in Nowon C District pollsA week ahead of the April 24 by-election, independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, particularly popular among young voters who have grown sick of business-as-usual politics, is leading in an opinion poll by a large margin.
According to a poll conducted jointly by JoongAng Ilbo and Macromillembrain that surveyed 1,000 eligible voters in Nowon C District between Sunday and Monday through telephones and mobile phones, Ahn scored 43.6 percent, beating out the ruling Saenuri Party runner Huh Joon-young’s 25.5 percent.
Three other opposition candidates recorded less than 10 percent in total - Kim Ji-seon from the Progressive Justice Party garnered 7 percent, the Unified Progressive Party’s Jeong Tae-heung earned 0.9 percent, and another independent Na Gi-hwan scored 0.3 percent. The remaining 22.7 percent were undecided or refused to respond. The poll had a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The poll shows three factors as to why Ahn is the frontrunner.
First, a majority of young voters support Ahn. He scored 58.6 percent from respondents in their 20s and 56.0 percent from those in their 30s while Saenuri’s Huh obtained only 14.1 percent and 9.6 percent in these respective age groups. Ahn also earned 51.6 percent from respondents in their 40s while Huh scored 18.1 percent.
Second, supporters of the opposition Democratic United Party favored Ahn. The poll says 67.9 percent of DUP supporters liked Ahn, while only 5 percent would support Saenuri’s Huh. Many independent voters also selected Ahn, 47.4 percent, while 5.1 percent would vote for the Saenuri candidate.
About half of Ahn’s supporters also expect Ahn to run in the next presidential election or create a new political party.
Ahn, a businessman-turned-professor-turned-politician, has risen as a political superstar, particularly among young liberals, since he yielded his candidacy to then-Seoul mayoral candidate Park Won-soon. In the December presidential election race last year, he once again gave up his candidacy in a tearful speech and endorsed the DUP’s Moon Jae-in as a single liberal candidate. Although Moon lost the presidential race, Ahn has continued his political career without joining any political party, presenting his image as a fresh, liberal and rational politician.
By Shin Chang-woon, Kim Hee-jin [email@example.com]