President’s approval ratings plummet to new low

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President’s approval ratings plummet to new low

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Approval ratings for President Park Geun-hye dropped to an all-time low of 35 percent, falling five points from a poll conducted a week earlier.

In the poll by Gallup Korea, Park’s disapproval ratings reached another high of 55 percent.

The 35 percent approval rating is the lowest since Park took office two years ago and 11 percent responded that they had no opinion about Park’s handling of national affairs. The poll was conducted from Tuesday through Thursday on about 1,000 adults nationwide.

But respondents in their 60s and older showed strong support, giving her a 62 percent approval rating, while people in their 50s gave her a positive rating of 43 percent. The approval rating for people in their 40s was 32 percent followed by 20 percent from people in their 30s.

Park is a deeply unpopular leader among respondents in their 20s. Only 13 percent said they support her.

But disapproval from people in their 50s, considered the backbone of Park’s support base, reached another high of 50 percent.

The bad ratings reflect public disappointment with Park’s New Year’s address on Monday, in which she brushed aside demands that she should reshuffle her Blue House staff in the wake of a scandal about behind-the-scenes power struggles. Her refusal to let go some of her presidential aides led to concerns that there is a widening gap between the president’s perception of reality and that of ordinary Koreans, and that she is out of touch with public sentiment.

The poll asked respondents about Park’s Monday address, and 40 percent said she did a poor job while 28 percent said she did well, while 32 percent said they had no opinion.

Asked why they thought she performed badly in the address and follow-up press conference, the highest number, 14 percent, said she fell short of truly communicating with the people and did not offer anything that people wanted to hear.

The Park administration is going through its toughest patch after one of its assistant secretaries is reported to have suspected ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung as being behind the leaked document scandal ignited by a report by the Segye Ilbo last November.

Although Park’s approval rating is now in the mid-30 percent range, the ruling Saenuri Party is far ahead of its rival opposition with 43 percent support. The main opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, trails with 23 percent approval, while 29 percent said they do not favor any parties.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]


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