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[Politics] Public faith in politics falls, poll says

Posted January. 11, 2001 13:05,   


[Overview] 85% say nation is going wrong

The public has shown a mounting level of distrust in the state of politics.

The president and heads of the ruling and opposition parties, as well as the National Assembly, received ratings more negative than those posted at the time of the first Donga opinion poll conducted last October. More respondents now say they support no political party.

Regarding the performance of the legislature: 52.2 percent said it was "very bad" and 43.6 percent said "quite bad." The negative evaluation combining the two groups accounted for 95.8 percent. The "very bad" category rose to 52.2 percent from 46.3 percent from the first quarterly poll. Popular frustrations over the partisan tug-of-war over the loaning of Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) lawmakers to the splinter United Liberal Democrats (ULD) and the railroading of the budget bill apparently reinforced public lack of confidence in the National Assembly.

An unfavorable reaction by 58.8 percent of respondents to President Kim Dae-Jung's performance also far outweighed the "he is doing fine" response that accounted for 41.1 percent. In the first survey three months ago, the positive and the negative evaluations of the president were about equal at 48.2 percent. Senior citizens displayed greater disapproval of President Kim than other age groups, as exemplified by 71.7 percent of them in their 40s. Grand National Party (GNP) leader Lee Hoi-Chang drew a more unfavorable assessment at 76.5 percent compared to the 68.4 percent in the first poll. Disapproval among respondents in their 20s jumped to 80.3 percent; 47.3 percent of the respondents who voiced their support for the GNP blamed Lee for poor performance.

On the meeting of the top leaders of the two main political parties, Kim of the MDP and Lee of the GNP, held at the presidential mansion Jan. 4, an overwhelming majority of 80 percent said it bore no good results, in sharp contrast to the 9.1 percent who responded that it was productive. Laying blame for the fruitless tete-a-tete, 38.2 percent and 24.2 percent blamed Kim and Lee, respectively, and 34.6 percent held both accountable. It meant that they held Kim more accountable than Lee.

Regarding the lending of National Assemblymen to accord the third party a floor bloc status, 38.1 percent in the survey said it was wrong; 22.9 percent responded that it is out of the question. Approving opinions came from 35.5 percent, of which 31.7 percent said it was inevitable, while 3.8 percent responded it was "well done." Even in southwestern provinces, which are the power base of the MDP and the ULD, about 50 percent of respondents expressed negative views.

Asked if the revival of the coalition partnership between the MDP and the ULD would contribute to economic recovery and political stabilization, the largest number of respondents (42 percent) said it would have little consequence. The positive 28.3 percent who said it might help turned out almost equal to the negative respondents (27.2 percent) who said it wouldn¡¯t help.

The rate of support for political parties dropped to 16.6 percent for the MDP and 14.5 percent for the GNP, both down from their levels in the first poll. Those who replied that they support no party registered 64.6 percent, a rise from 59.2 percent of the first poll.

Na Sun-Mi, specialist at Dong-a Media Research Institute