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Moon maintains gap but Ahn jumps to second in weekly poll

All Headlines 09:07 March 30, 2017

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in continued to maintain what many have called a comfortable lead in a weekly poll on the upcoming presidential election released Thursday, while his ally-turned-rival Ahn Cheol-soo jumped to second place for the first time.

Moon, a presidential hopeful and former chief of the liberal Democratic Party, posted an approval rating of 35.2 percent, gaining 0.8 percentage point from a week earlier and keeping the top position for the 13th consecutive week, according to local pollster Realmeter.

Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in (C) waves to his supporters after securing his second victory in a party primary held in Daejeon, located some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 29, 2017. His closest rival and South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung (R) came in second. (Yonhap)

Ahn from the left-leaning centrist People's Party was favored by 17.4 percent of those surveyed as the next president, up 4.8 percentage points from the previous week.

The former business tycoon left the Democratic Party to found the People's Party last year. He is currently facing rivals in an in-house race for the party's nomination in the May 9 presidential election.

South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung of the Democratic Party gained 12.5 percent, plunging 5.1 percentage points and losing the second spot for the first time in 13 weeks.

Such a large fall may have been caused by a growing number of people seeing Moon as the likely candidate of the Democratic Party following his victory in both rounds of primary elections held so far, the pollster noted.

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party offers a speech in a party primary held in the port city of Busan, located some 450 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

The lawyer-turned-politician won 55.9 percent of all votes cast in the first two rounds of the primary, compared with 25.8 percent clenched by An.

In the weekly poll, Seongnam City Mayor Lee Jae-myung, also from the Democratic Party, took the fourth spot with 9.5 percent, followed by Hong Joon-pyo of the former ruling Liberty Korea Party, the only conservative contender in top five spots, with 7.7 percent.

In a five-way race involving only one candidate from each of five major political parties here, Moon again topped the list with 44 percent, followed by Ahn with 21 percent and Hong 11 percent.

Yoo Seong-min, a lawmaker and elected nominee of the conservative Bareun Party, came last with 3 percent, trailing Rep. Sim Sang-jung of the splinter Justice Party.

The survey was conducted on 1,525 voters throughout the nation. It has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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