Public support for President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has entered 57 days into office, is declining. Surveys by Korea Gallup released on Friday show that the support for President Yoon dropped for three consecutive weeks by 10 percentage points. Surveys by Realmeter and Korea Society Organization Institute revealed that negative reviews exceeded positive reviews (known as death cross) last week, with the gap widening on Monday. Negative reviews accounted for more than 50 percent in recent surveys, which was witnessed for the first time.
It is too early to determine the new administration's competence within two months of the inauguration. More time is needed for policies to execute and achieve performance. However, it is unusual to see disapproving public opinion increasing, presumably impacted by disputable appointment of cabinet members and discord with the ruling party.
The external situation faced by the Yoon administration can be described as an absolute challenge. Global recession is fueling fears of negative growth. High inflation, interest rates, exchange rates and oil prices are impacting businesses and households. It is questionable whether the new administration has given sufficient trust towards its vision to cope and deal with these challenges. While normalizing government systems previously brought down by the former Moon Jae-in administration is important, one may be inclined to think that the Yoon administration might be putting too much focus on recovering the powers at the public prosecution office and police.
"I wasn't too bothered with support rates when campaigning for presidency," said President Yoon on his way to work on Monday. It is not really significant. I am just focused on working for the people Support rates are not everything and it should not be the aim to run a country. However, support rates indicate where the public stands. It should not be ignored.
Eventually, the government should give faith on how it plans to run the next five years. The first 100 days after taking office is vital. The government builds plans to show how it obtains parliamentary support to concentrate national competence and overcome the challenges it faces. Above all, the government should be aware that appointing competent officials to tackle economic challenges, rather than relying on the network of public prosecutors. Claiming that things will be done differently and ignoring the situation will only result in unilateral actions.