Reliability of polls questioned as support rates for top prosecutor fluctuate

SEOUL, Only two days after a local poll ranked Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl as the most favored candidate to become South Korea’s next president, two separate polls released on Friday showed the top prosecutor well behind two political heavyweights from the ruling Democratic Party, raising questions about the trustworthiness of local opinion polls.
Lee Nak-yon, chairman of the Democratic Party, and Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung together ranked top in the latest popularity survey by Gallup Korea on prospective presidential candidates, with Yoon ranked a distant third.
In the Gallup poll of 1,001 people 18 years and older conducted nationwide from Tuesday to Thursday, Chairman Lee and Gov. Lee garnered support rate of 19 percent each, while Yoon came next with 11 percent, trailed by Ahn Cheol-soo, chairman of the minor People’s Party, with 3 percent and independent lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo with 1 percent, the pollster said.
Compared with the previous Gallup poll in October, Chairman Lee’s support rate rose by 2 percentage points, whereas Gov. Lee’s rate was down 1 percentage point. Support rate for Yoon surged by 8 percentage points in a month.
In a similar poll released Friday by broadcaster CBS and the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI), Yoon ranked third with 11.1 percent, trailing Chairman Lee and Gov. Lee, who earned 21.1 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively.
As recently as Wednesday, local pollster Hangil Research & Consulting made a surprise announcement that 24.7 percent of 1,022 adults polled nationwide from Nov. 7-9 supported Yoon as South Korea’s next president, with Chairman Lee and Gov. Lee securing 22.2 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively.
Industry experts speculate that the widely different survey results may have been caused by differences in polling methods.
Gallup Korea conducted its poll in the form of receiving a free response without presenting candidate names. The KSOI also presented as many as 11 prospective presidential candidates in its popularity survey.
By contrast, Hangil Research asked respondents to choose among only six candidates — the two Lees, Yoon, Hong, Ahn and Rep. Sim Sang-jung, former leader of the minor Justice Party, possibly resulting in the overwhelming support for Yoon among opposition party supporters.
The nation’s next presidential election is slated for March 2022. Local pollsters have included Yoon in their recent polls on the next political leader, though the top prosecutor has never declared political ambitions.
In the latest Gallup poll, 47 percent said they will vote for the ruling party’s candidate in the 2022 presidential election, while 41 percent expressed support for an opposition party candidate. The remaining 12 percent refused to answer.
The approval rating for President Moon Jae-in rose 3 percentage points to 46 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points with a confidence level of 95 percent, Gallup said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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