Seoul: President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval rating fell below the 40 per cent mark in two months since he took office, a poll showed on Monday, reflecting the negative sentiment amid an ongoing power struggle at the ruling party.
In the poll of 2,525 voters nationwide conducted by Realmeter from Monday to Friday last week, only 37 per cent gave a positive assessment of his performance, while 57 per cent disapproved of Yoon’s handling of state affairs.
It is the first time Yoon’s approval rating fell below 40 per cent in a survey conducted by Realmeter since he took office on May 10. A survey by Gallup Korea last week also showed that only 37 per cent of the respondents approved of Yoon’s performance.
The gap between the positive and negative assessments reached 20 percentage points, widening outside the margin of error of 2 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence level, Yonhap news agency reported.
Yoon’s approval rating, which came in at 52.1 per cent in the first week of June, has been trending lower, falling to 48 per cent in the second week of June and 44.4 per cent in the last week of June.
Those who disapproved of how Yoon handles state affairs have climbed from 40.3 per cent in the first week of June to 50.2 per cent in the last week of the month.
“The gap between the positive and negative assessments widened the most since the Yoon Suk-yeol government took office, with both figures showing high volatility,” Bae Cheol-ho, Realmeter’s senior analyst, said, citing a series of issues in which Yoon and the first lady were alleged to have relied on personal connections in doing their jobs.
The latest result is also seen as reflecting the turmoil at the People Power Party (PPP) following a decision to suspend the membership of its chairman Lee Jun-seok for six months over sexual bribery allegations.
“Yoon’s approval rating came in lower than the favorability rating of the ruling party, which is a precursor that the core supporters are starting to separate Yoon from the party and leaving,” Bae added.
“It’s a very risky sign considering the aftermath of the PPP’s ethics committee meeting.”
On the favorability rating of political parties, Yoon’s PPP received 40.9 per cent of the support, down 2.6 percentage points from the previous poll, while the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) earned 41.8 per cent, up 1.5 percentage points from the earlier survey.
The gap between the two narrowed within the margin of error, with the DP’s favorability rating exceeding the PPP for the first time in 14 weeks.
“The intraparty strife has peaked ahead of the ethics committee’s decision and (the support for the PPP) is seen trending lower,” Bae said.
“The shock from (the committee decision) is expected to last for some time, with Lee having announced his decision to not succumb.”