Approval rating for NPAD plummets in 4 weeksThe approval rating of the main opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, took a shuddering drop after the party’s political superstar Ahn Cheol-soo publicly challenged President Park Geun-hye.
Realmeter, a research company based in Seoul, released the results of a weekly poll taken April 7 to 11 that showed a yawning gap between the popularity of the NPAD and the ruling Saenuri Party.
The Saenuri Party had an approval rating of 52.5 percent, rising from 47.8 percent in the first week of March, when the NPAD was launched through a merger of the Democratic Party, formerly the largest opposition party, and supporters of liberal darling Ahn, who made a failed bid for the presidency in 2012.
During the same period, the approval rating of the NPAD plunged to 28.5 percent from 38.3 percent, the poll said. The gap between the two parties has risen to 24 percent from 9.5 percent during the same period.
Right after the merger and its launch, the NPAD saw its approval rating peaked at 38.3 percent in the first week of March.
But it’s been downhill ever since. In the second week of March it declined to 37.2 percent, then to 34.8 percent in the third week, 33.3 percent in the fourth and 33.4 percent in the first week of April.
On April 4, Ahn showed up unexpectedly at the Blue House and demanded a meeting with President Park to discuss the ruling party’s walking away from an election pledge to not nominate candidates in city, district and county council elections. Park refused to see him. The following week, Ahn and the NPAD also walked away from its identical election pledge.
The analysis of the poll showed that a significant number of white-collar workers and students withdrew their support for the NPAD in the past month. They are the main part of the party’s support base.
In the first week of March, 49.5 percent of the respondents who said they were white-collar workers supported the NPAD, while 35.7 percent supported the Saenuri Party.
However, in the second week of April, the situation was reversed. The Saenuri Party had the support of 42.4 percent of white-collar respondents, compared to 34.9 percent the NPAD got.
In the first week of March, the Saenuri had the support of only 23.2 percent of students compared to the NPAD’s 55.7 percent. But in the second week of April, the Saenuri Party got support from 36.6 percent of the students, while the NPAD’s support plummeted to 29.9 percent.
Realmeter said the number of white-collar respondents was about five times more than that of students.
The gap in their approval ratings by housewives or self-employed businessmen was relatively smaller, the company said, about 10 percentage points.
In terms of the age of the respondents, many NPAD defectors were in their 30s, according to the poll.
The NPAD had 49.9 percent of support from respondents in their 30s in the first week of March. But that number fell to 34.3 percent last week.
BY KIM JUNG-HA, KIM HEE-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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