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Voter Sentiment Shifts in 2007 Presidential Race Analyzed

Voter Sentiment Shifts in 2007 Presidential Race Analyzed

Posted December. 24, 2007 06:27,   


The following is an analysis of the changes in voter sentiment in 248 cities, counties and districts. The Geographic Information System (GIS) and the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) methods were used to examine the differences in vote percentages between candidate Lee Hoi-chang in the 16th presidential election and president-elect Lee Myung-bak in the 17th presidential election, as well as between then Democratic candidate Roh Moo-hyun in the 16th presidential election and United New Democratic Party candidate Chung Dong-young in the 17th election.

Seoul was the area which contributed most to former Seoul mayor Lee winning the presidential election. Nine out of 10 areas in which Lee Myung-bak, the Grand National Party standard bearer in the 17th presidential election, saw the biggest increases in support in comparison to Lee Hoi-chang, the GNP presidential candidate in the 16th presidential election, were electoral districts in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, except for Dong-gu in Ulsan.

Lee Myung-bak garnered 57.1 percent of the vote in this year’s presidential election in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, compared to 38.8 percent of the vote Lee Hoi-chang received in the 16th presidential election, up 18.3 percent. The approval ratings for Lee Myung-bak were also 13.6 percent and 13 percent higher in Yeoncheon-gun and Dong-gu, Ulsan, respectively. Lee Myung-bak also secured the most number of votes in all of the 515 election sub-districts in Seoul.

However, UNDP candidate Chung Dong-young was not able to outperform his predecessor Roh Moo-hyun, the winner of the 16th presidential election, in any constituencies.

A significant number of people in South Chungcheong Province turned their backs on the UNDP. Sixteen out of the 18 voting districts in which the ruling party earned more than 30 percent less votes in the latest presidential election were constituencies in South Chungcheong Province and its capital, Daejeon.

Roh won 60.6 percent of the vote in the 16th presidential race in Buyeo, South Chuncheong Province, compared to Chung with 21.7 percent in the 17th election, down 38.9 percent. The approval rating for the ruling party also plunged by 33.8 percent and 33.6 percent in Dangjin-gun and Seocheon-gun in South Chungcheong Province.

Chung’s approval rating was more than 10 percent less in 12 constituencies compared to that of Roh in the 2002 presidential election; Eleven in North Jeolla Province and one in South Jeolla province.

As if reflecting the public’s strong desire to change the leftist government after a decade, a much more dramatic change in the hearts of voters could be witnessed in the recent election compared to the 2002 presidential election. Except for in Yesan, Chungcheong Province, the differences in the approval ratings of 15th presidential election candidate Kim Dae-jung and the 16th election candidate Roh were between minus 3.4 percent and plus 25.9 percent, while the differences in the approval ratings of 17th presidential race candidate Lee Myung-bak and 16th race candidate Lee Hoi-chang were between minus 19 percent and plus 18.3 percent.

The most radical change in approval ratings was found in Yesan, Lee Hoi-chang’s birthplace. The approval rating for Roh Moo-hyun dropped 17.3 percent compared to Kim Dae-jung, and the supporting rating of Lee Myung-bak also nosedived 52.3 percent compared to Lee Hoi-chang in the city.

The analysis was carried out by the Dong-A Ilbo with the help of the two experts in the related analytical techniques, including political science professor Park Won-ho at the University of Florida, who is also a communications professor at Chung-Ang University.

ditto@donga.com hjkwon@donga.com