Majority approves of Park’s crisis response: Poll

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Majority approves of Park’s crisis response: Poll

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Three out of 5 people gave a positive review to President Park Geun-hye’s response to the latest security crisis, according to a JoongAng Ilbo poll, an evaluation higher than Park’s approval rating for state affairs.

The JoongAng Ilbo conducted a survey on Wednesday to access the public reviews of President Park’s handling of the latest North Korea crisis.

According to the poll, 60.9 percent gave positive reviews to Park’s performance, while 33.7 percent gave negative evaluations. Among those who gave positive reviews, 9.6 percent said Park was managing the situation very well, while 51.3 percent said she was generally doing well. Of those who gave negative reviews, 6.1 percent said Park failed to manage the situation.

The positive review of 60.9 percent is higher than recent polls on Park’s approval rating.

Last week, her approval rating was 44 percent in the Gallup Korea poll and 47.2 percent in the RealMeter survey. Observers said Park managed to receive positive reviews because she satisfied the public’s expectations and sentiments on security issues.

“Park gave a liberal message by saying she is willing to talk and provide assistance even before the nuclear crisis is resolved, if North Korea proves it can be trusted,” said Jeong Han-wool, deputy head of the Center for Public Opinion Research at the East Asia Institute.

“At the same time, she also gave a conservative message that the Korea-U.S. alliance will continue to be reinforced. The positive rating came as she used both messages appropriately to resolve the public uneasiness on national security.”

He also said Park’s handling was different from her predecessor Lee Myung-bak, who was reluctant to issue liberal messages.

According to the poll, 57.1 percent of the people said the Kaesong Industrial Complex project must continue, while 39.3 percent said it must be stopped.

The public sentiment, however, was negative about providing economic assistance to the North.

The poll showed that 30.2 percent said economic aid should be reduced, while 26.6 percent said it must be stopped. Another 30.8 percent said the current level of economic assistance should be maintained.

The public also sees a lower possibility of North Korea’s limited armed provocation, the poll showed.

In the JoongAng Ilbo poll, 53.3 percent said they think there is little or no possibility, while 45.9 percent said they think there is some or high possibility.

In the Gallup Korea poll conducted from March 18 to 21, 47 percent said they see a possibility, while another 47 percent said they do not see a possibility. The JoongAng Ilbo poll surveyed 900 adults using mobile and landline phones. It has a confidence level of 95 percent with a plus or minus 3.3 percentage-point margin of error.

By Shin Chang-un [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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