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(2nd LD) Moon's approval rating hits 14-month high at 52.5 pct over virus response

All News 14:04 March 26, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last para)

SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has rose to the highest level in more than a year at 52.5 percent, driven by the view that his administration is working hard and relatively well to counter the coronavirus, a poll showed Thursday.

In the three-day phone survey of 1,518 people nationwide, age 18 or older, through Wednesday, Moon's popularity gained 3.2 percentage points compared with that of last week, while the portion of those critical of his leadership fell 3.8 percentage points to 44.1 percent, according to Realmeter. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The approval rating represents the highest in 14 months after recording 53.7 percent in the pollster's second-week survey of November in 2018. It's also the first time in about seven months that the rating has exceeded 50 percent.

Realmeter said the rise in the rating seems to have been affected by a positive assessment of the government's handling of the coronavirus.

Some foreign media have cited South Korea as a role model in terms of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

A growing number of patients here have been leaving hospitals after recovering in recent days, with the growth in the number of new daily infections dropping markedly. The death rate has stayed at around 1 percent.

Moon has also chaired a weekly "emergency economic council" session, in which he unveiled major steps to minimize the virus impact on the country's economy and stabilize the local financial market.

The approval rating of the ruling Democratic Party increased 2.9 percentage points to 45 percent and that of the main opposition United Future Party lost 3.8 percentage points to 29.8 percent.

It is a positive sign for the ruling bloc ahead the April 15 general elections regarded as a midterm election for Moon.

In a recent survey of 1,000 South Koreans conducted by the Korea Press Foundation, 74.4 percent of respondents gave a positive review of the government's response to the local outbreak of the pandemic.


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