Moon’s approval rating tumbles

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Moon’s approval rating tumbles

In the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, young female supporters of President Moon Jae-in are withdrawing their support, leading to his approval rating taking a tumble in the latest opinion polls.

According to a weekly poll by Realmeter, Moon’s approval rating for the last week of January was 45 percent, down by 2 percentage points from the previous week. The poll was conducted from Tuesday till Friday of last week with 2,511 voters aged 19 years old or older from around the nation. Moon’s disapproval rating also rose 0.4 percentage points to reach 50.3 percent.

According to the poll, Moon’s approval rating dropped significantly among young female voters, who are the key members of his support basis. While Moon’s approval rating among men remained unchanged, his rating among women went down from 49.4 percent to 45.4 percent, or 4 percentage points.

Among the voters in their 30s, Moon’s weekly approval rating went down from 49.2 percent to 42.9 percent, a drop of 6.3 percentage points, while among voters in their 20s, Moon’s rating went down from 47.8 percent to 42.9 percent, or 4.9 percentage points.

The president also suffered a fall in his popularity in the most populous regions of Gyeonggi and Incheon. His approval rating in the two areas fell from 51.3 percent to 46.7 percent.

Moon used to enjoy high popularity among supporters of the Justice Party, but his rating dropped from 75.6 percent to 56.7 percent, or 18.9 percentage points.

Among voters who don’t support any political party, Moon’s rating dropped from 27.9 percent to 23.3 percent. They also gave widely negative evaluations to Moon’s performance - his disapproval rating hit 60.3 percent in that group.

“The falling approval rating among the voters who support no political party will later influence the general trend,” Realmeter analyzed.

Approval ratings for both the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) also suffered falls from the previous week. Realmeter analyzed that public distrust toward both parties was reflected as they continued political discord despite the expanding outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

The poll had a 95 percent confidence level with a plus or minus 2 percentage-point margin of error. More details are available on the Realmeter homepage.

In another opinion poll published by Gallup Korea on Friday, Moon’s approval rating dropped to 41 percent, down 4 percentage points from two weeks ago, as women in their 20s largely withdrew their support.

When Moon took office in May 2017, he was particularly favored by young women. In the July 2017 poll by Gallup Korea, Moon recorded a 95 percent approval rating among women in their 20s. In the latest poll, conducted from Tuesday till Thursday last week, Moon only scored 41 percent.

The poll had a 95-percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Gallup Korea said the latest fall in Moon’s approval rating is similar to the situation in 2015, when Korea faced an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

After the first patient was confirmed on May 20, 2015, the approval rating of then-President Park Geun-hye, which was around 40 percent throughout the month, dropped to 34 percent during the first week of June and to 29 percent during the third week of June, Gallup Korea said. Her rating rebounded to the 30-percent level later in the month after the outbreak calmed down.

According to the analysis, a fluctuation of support among young women largely affected Park’s approval rating at that time.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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