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Party Ratings Linked to Apartment Prices: Study

Posted August. 03, 2009 09:03,   


When apartment prices in the Seoul metropolitan region increase, the approval rating of the conservative Grand National Party goes up in tandem, a study released yesterday said.

The study analyzed the correlation between seven elections held from 2000 to last year and apartment prices nationwide in election periods. The party’s approval rating was found to rise more in areas where real estate prices grew more.

The study was conducted jointly by The Dong-A Ilbo and Park Won-ho, a political science professor at the University of Florida.

The trend was more conspicuous in the Seoul metropolitan area than in the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces, where most voters have certain parties they support. The study analyzed two presidential, three general and two gubernatorial and local elections.

In contrast, the approval rating of the liberal Democratic Party (including its predecessors) declined in areas where apartment prices rose relatively more than in other areas.

The Grand National Party’s approval rating increased 1.4 percentage points in areas where the average apartment price increased one million won (813 U.S. dollars) or less per 3.3 square meters between the 2004 and last year’s general elections. The rating surged 8.2 percentage points, however, in areas where the price rose more than three million won (2,440 dollars).

Notably, the party’s approval rating was highly proportional to home prices in the Seoul districts of Hangangro, Jamwon and Yeouido.

In the 16th and 17th presidential elections, the approval rating of Democratic Party candidates declined 17.6 percentage points in areas where apartment prices gained one million won (813 U.S. dollars) or less, but tumbled 25.2 percentage points in areas where home prices rose more than three million won (2,440 dollars).

The study showed that inflation of apartment prices clearly affect voter sentiment despite the political situation at the time of elections. Experts call this trend “economic voting.”

Apartment prices are less influential over voters in the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces. This suggests that regionalism is the bigger factor for voters there.

Professor Park said, “Economic voting, in which voters cast ballots on the basis of the economic growth rate, inflation and unemployment, has been reportedly common in advanced economies.”

“This study demonstrates that apartment prices affect voter sentiment more than other economic variables in Korea.”

Among the seven elections studied, the Grand National Party had an average approval rating of 45.7 percent and the Democratic Party 35.1 percent. The former secured the highest approval rating in North Gyeongsang Province with 66.5 percent, while the latter controlled the southern city of Gwangju with 75.8 percent.