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Gyeonggi Governor tops poll of presidential hopefuls

Yoon Seok-youl, Lee Nak-yon, Lee Jae-myung (from left) (Yonhap)
Yoon Seok-youl, Lee Nak-yon, Lee Jae-myung (from left) (Yonhap)

Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung came out on top in the latest poll of support for presidential candidates released Friday, while previous front-runner Lee Nak-yon plummeted.

In a survey by Gallup Korea conducted with 1,000 adults over the age of 18 from Tuesday to Thursday, 23 percent of respondents picked Lee as their most favored presidential candidate, up 3 percentage points from the poll a month earlier.

Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl came in second with 13 percent support, unchanged from the previous month.

Yoon was favored largely by conservatives supporting the main opposition People Power Party (38 percent), and those who are conservative or negative about the president’s performance (20 percent).

Liberal heavyweight Rep. Lee Nak-yon, head of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and once the leader in the polls, finished third with 10 percent, down 6 percentage points from the poll the previous month.

Lee Nak-yon, who had been favored over Lee Jae-myung by ruling party supporters and in the liberal party’s stronghold, trailed Gov. Lee in both categories, the poll showed.

Among ruling party supporters, 43 percent opted for Lee Jae-myung and 23 percent backed Lee Nak-yon. In Gwangju and the North and South Jeolla Provinces, the liberal party’s traditional stronghold, Lee Jae-myung polled ahead of Lee Nak-yon 28 percent to 21 percent.

President Moon Jae-in‘s job approval rating, meanwhile, stood at 38 percent, while his disapproval rating fell by two percentage points to 53 percent.

In terms of favorability among parties, the Democratic Party came first with 34 percent, followed by the main opposition People Power Party with 23 percent and the Justice Party with 5 percent, respectively.

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

By Ock Hyun-ju (