Tuesday, June 2, 2009
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"The graph shows that the approval ratings for opposition Democratic Party(27.1 percent) exceed those for the ruling Grand National Party (18.7 percent) in the end of the May."
[Opinion] ‘Roh effect’ changes South Korea‘s political terrain
Survey shows support for DP has increased by region and age, while analysts suggest it could just mean GNP supporters have gone into temporary hiding
Posted on : Jun.1,2009 12:50 KST
Experts are predicting that the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun will have a significant effect on changes in the political terrain.
First, a survey conducted recently by the Hankyoreh showed a reversal in support rates between the top two parties compared to four years earlier in the first half of 2005. According to the Hankyoreh’s cumulative data, the Uri Party, or the previous incarnation of the Democratic Party (DP), entered the general election with an overwhelming edge amid the impeachment crisis of April 2004. However, in the second half of the same year, their support ratings began to drop amid slow progress for four pieces of reform legislation, including an amendment to the National Security Act. By March 2, 2005, a survey showed that the Grand National Party (GNP) had overtaken them.
In a conversation with the Hankyoreh, Yun Ho-jung, head of the DP’s strategic planning committee, expressed astonishment with the ’Roh Moo-hyun effect,’ saying, “The support ratings had not budged even with all kinds of crazy business like party dissolutions, secessions and the forming of new parties or the party’s name changes from the Uri Party to the United New Democratic Party and the United Democratic Party. But, this time it moved.”
Second, support rates by region are noteworthy. In the latest survey by the Hankyoreh, the GNP maintains a firm edge of 33.7 percent only in the North Gyeongsang Province region and Daegu city to the DP‘s 10.5 percent. Its support base has been shaking in all other regions. In particular, a close race within the margin of error could be seen in the South Gyeongsang Province region and the cities of Busan and Ulsan, where the GNP leads 24.5 percent to the DP’s 19.5 percent. The results appear to correlate with the emotional association of being the home region of former President Roh.
The scope of change was largest in the Chungcheong region, where DP leads 33.4 percent to the GNP‘s 13.3 percent. Observers are attributing the rise to the “Roh effect” together with negative feelings connected with the capital region-centered relaxation of regulations that has been a policy focus of the Lee Myung-bak government. Overall, the survey indicates a nationwide narrowing trend in the GNP support base and that the GNP strongholds of the North Gyeongsang region and four districts in Seoul, including Gangnam-gu remain firm.
Third, the survey showed the GNP falling behind the DP in every age group except those over 60. This represents a 180-degree turnaround from the February 21 survey conducted by the Hankyoreh, where the GNP lagged behind the DP only among respondents in their twenties, and led in all other age groups. The overall support ratings at that time had indicated 36.1 percent for the GNP and 16.2 percent for the DP.
The future does appear to hold some uncertainties. “There will be some degree of adjustment, but the DP’s edge itself will be maintained within a certain fixed range,” said Yun Ho-jung.
Im Sang-ryeol, head of Research Plus disagreed, “The correct way to view the situation is that GNP supporters have gone into temporary hiding, rather than suggesting that they have withdrawn their support.”
Im chose to remain neutral about a forecast by saying, “There are many variables, depending on whether the Democratic Party presents an alternative and vision in the future.”
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© 2006 The Hankyoreh Media Company.
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