Park’s approval rating hits record low: poll

December 20, 2014
Although South Korean President Park Geun-hye has an approval rating of 46 percent, almost 90 percent of South Koreans disapprove of the National Assembly as a whole.

President Park Geun-hye’s approval rating has hit a record. (Korea Times file)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye’s approval rating has hit a record low amid a high-profile influence-peddling scandal involving some key presidential officials, a poll showed Friday.

The survey of 1,006 adults nationwide by Gallup Korea showed only 37 percent approved of Park’s job performance. In a similar poll by Realmaster, released earlier this week, Park’s approval rating stood at 39.7 percent.

It was the first time that her approval rating dipped below 40 percent in a major poll since she took office in February 2012.

The conservative leader, often accused of failing to reach out to the people, is less popular among the younger generation, according to the latest poll. Only 17 percent of the respondents in their 20s approved of the Park administration, while just 19 percent of 30-something respondents did, it showed.

Insufficient public communication was the top source of disapproval, followed by displeasure with her personnel management style and welfare policies for low-incomers, the poll showed.

In particular, the president was apparently hit hard by a recent leak of controversial documents from her office. The documents alleged there was a behind-the-scenes power game among her former and current aides.

The documents, drawn up by a former presidential staffer in early 2014 and first reported last month by a Seoul-based newspaper, suggested a former aide of Park, Jeong Yun-hoe, attempted to influence state affairs.

“The after-effects of the presidential document leak case appear to be affecting President Park’s existing support,” Gallup said.

Jeong and Park’s younger brother Park Ji-man were quizzed by prosecutors earlier this month over the documents. Both of them flatly denied reports that they were embroiled in a power struggle.

The survey was conducted for three days from last Tuesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.