Coming election might lean left

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Coming election might lean left

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More than nine out of 10 people in their 20s said they would vote for the next president in this year’s election, a figure that could give the liberal opposition a decisive boost if it becomes a reality.

In a survey conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo, 92.2 percent of respondents in their 20s said they would cast votes in the approaching presidential election, which is expected to take place much sooner than the originally scheduled Dec. 20, pending the Constitutional Court’s verdict on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

About 74 percent of all respondents in their 20s said they would vote no matter what, while about 18 percent said they would go to the polling booth if they could.

The 92.2 percent figure comes as a welcome surprise for the opposition, as it surpasses anticipated voter turnout by those in their 50s and older.

On the same question, 68.5 percent of those polled in their 50s said they would turn out to vote no matter what. Meanwhile, 84.1 percent of those aged 60 and older said they would vote.

About 83 percent of respondents in their 50s said they would vote.

The finding, which raises the prospect of an increased turnout among people in their 20s, could give the Minjoo Party of Korea an advantage as young people are generally considered to be more politically and socially progressive.

If those in their 20s, who vowed to vote no matter what, put their words into action, then about 390,000 more young voters would cast their votes than did in the 2012 presidential race.

Five years ago, about 5.09 million people in their 20s voted.

If 74.3 percent of young people vote in this year’s election, it will mark a huge leap compared to past elections.

In the 2008 general election, only 28.1 percent of people under 30 went to the voting booth.

But in last year’s general election, the figure jumped to 52.7 percent, which political observers see as a factor that attributed to the opposition’s surprise victory.

In the 2012 presidential election, 68.5 percent of voters in their 20s participated, while total voter turnout was 75.8 percent.

The highest percentage of voting intention came from those in their 30s - 92.7 percent of those polled in that age group said they would vote.

Also, 83.3 percent said they would take part no matter what.

The survey was conducted of 1,000 adults nationwide on Wednesday and Thursday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

BY KANG JIN-KYU, CHA SE-HYEON [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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