President Moon Jae-in's approval rating dropped to the lowest level since his inauguration about four months ago, a poll showed Friday, amid growing security concerns following North Korea's latest nuclear test.
In a weekly survey conducted by Gallup Korea, 72 percent of the respondents said they approved how the president managed state affairs, down 4 percentage points from a week earlier.
The poll was conducted on 1,004 voters throughout the nation between Tuesday and Thursday. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent.
The drop followed the North's latest nuclear test Sunday that many here believe was the most powerful nuclear test staged by the communist state so far.
The recent deployment of four additional rocket launchers as part of the THAAD U.S. missile defense system also adversely affected the president's approval rating, the outcome of the survey showed.
Of all respondents, 20 percent said they did not approve of the president's management of state affairs, up 4 percentage points from a week earlier.
Of those who disapproved of the president, 28 percent cited the North Korean nuclear issue and security concerns it created, marking a 14 percentage point hike from the previous week. Five percent cited the THAAD deployment, up 3 percentage points.
Still, many apparently saw a need for some measures to contain the communist North.
When asked if the North's latest and sixth nuclear test posed a threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula, 76 percent of those surveyed said yes, while 20 percent said no.
Sixty percent answered South Korea, too, must be armed with nuclear weapons, while 35 percent opposed the idea.
Despite the drop in Moon's approval rating, that of his ruling Democratic Party continued to rise for a second consecutive week, gaining 2 percentage points on-week to 50 percent.
The approval rating of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party increased at a faster clip of 4 percentage points to 12 percent.
The rating of the splinter conservative Bareun Party remained unchanged at 7 percent, while that of the liberal People's Party dipped 3 percentage points to 4 percent.
The progressive Justice Party scored 5 percent, down 1 percentage point from a week earlier. (Yonhap)