By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editors Kevin Lee, Kim Young-myung
Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol has emerged as one of the most powerful Presidential candidates amid escalating conflicts with Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae.
A recent public opinion poll showed that Prosecutor General Yoon will play a neck-and-neck race with Lee Nak-yeon, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, or Lee Jae-myung, governor of Gyeonggi Province, within the range of 1 percentage point.
According to a poll of 1,000 men and women aged 18 or older nationwide conducted by a polling company, Wingkorea Consulting, at the request of the Asia Economy media, 42.3 percent of the respondents picked Lee Nak-yeon and 42.5% selected Yoon Seok-yeol when asked, "Who would you support if Lee and Yoon face each other in the next Presidential election?"
On the question, “Who would you support between Lee Jae-myung and Yoon Seok-yeol in the next Presidential election?" 42.6 percent singled out Lee Jae-myung and 41.9 percent selected Yoon Seok-yeol. Both virtual battles for the next President were extremely close within a range of 1 percentage point.
This is the first time that the results of a poll of the three figures, Lee Nak-yeon, Lee Jae-myung and Yoon Seok-yeol, have been released.
"The fact that Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol is somewhat ahead of other Presidential candidates in the support group can be attributed to the fact that the Presidential candidate of the pan-opposition camp has no front-runner except Yoon, while Lee Nak-yeon and Lee Jae-myung are competing each other with a similar approval rating in the Democratic Party of Korea camp," said Wingkorea Consulting.
In the "Democratic Party of Korea's suitability survey for Presidential candidates," Governor Lee Jae-myung and Representative Lee Nak-yeon recorded a slight difference within the margin of error, with 25.1 percent for Lee Jae-myung and 22.7 percent for Lee Nak-yeon. The comparable supporting rate was 5.9 percent for Prime Minister Jeong Se-kyun, 3.6 percent for Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, and 1.7 percent for former Director of National Security Im Jong-seok.
In the “moderate and conservative opposition parties’ suitability survey for Presidential candidates, Yoon Suk-yeol gained 25.5 percent; former lawmaker Yoo Seung-min, 11.0%; Rep. Hong Joon-pyo, 10.5%; leader of the minor opposition People's Party Ahn Cheol-soo, 7.6%; former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, 6.1%; and interim leader of the main opposition People Power Party Kim Jong-in, 2.5%. It shows a landscape in which Yoon Seok-yeol takes a lead and other runners compete for second place.
On Nov. 11, meanwhile, Yoon Seok-yeol, a non-politician, topped the list of the next Presidential candidates in a poll conducted by polling agency Hangil Research at the request of Cookie News, beating Lee Nak-yeon and Lee Jae-myung.
Many political analysts say that Yoon Seok-yeol's approval rating has soared due to the conflicts with Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae. Last month, Minister Choo Mi-ae lashed out at Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol, saying he used the right to command investigations and "took the prosecution into a political swamp."
When Yoon Seok-yeol topped the opposition camp for the Presidential candidate for the first time in June, a series of "hitting the prosecutor general" by Minister Choo Mi-ae also had an impact.
They say that the more Minister Choo Mi-ae attacks Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol, the more Yoon gains public support as a Presidential candidate.