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Ahn’s rise splits presidential race three ways

People’s Party presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo speaks at a meeting held at the National Assembly on Monday. (Yonhap)
People’s Party presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo speaks at a meeting held at the National Assembly on Monday. (Yonhap)
People’s Party presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has rapidly gained on his ruling and main opposition rivals in recent weeks, as he is appearing to absorb voters peeling away from People Power Party’s Yoon Suk-yeol.

Ahn came out on top in a Realmeter poll of 3,042 people released Monday in a hypothetical alliance with the main opposition party. The poll, requested by local media outlet Oh My News, was held from Jan. 2 to Friday.

Some 35.9 percent answered they would vote for him if Ahn and Yoon formed an alliance, while Yoon had a 32.5 percent support, recording a 3.4 percentage point gap within the margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence level.

The survey also put Democratic Party’s candidate Lee Jae-myung ahead with 40.1 percent, Yoon at 34.1 percent, followed by Ahn at 11.1 percent and Justice Party’s nominee Shim Sang-jung at 2.8 percent.

The 6 percentage point gap between the top two candidates is outside the margin of error.

Though Ahn came in third, it is the first time Ahn passed the 10 percent bar in a recent poll. According to Realmeter, Ahn was mainly endorsed by those in their 20s and 30s.

Another survey of 1,002 people, arranged by Southern Post, also showed Ahn could be a stronger candidate in alliance. Some 42.3 percent said they would vote for Ahn if the opposition parties form an alliance against Lee, who would gain 28.9 percent support. 33.4 percent showed support for Yoon against Lee at 33.6 percent.

The poll, requested by broadcaster CBS, was conducted from Friday to Saturday.

Though Ahn has risen as a strong contender, Yoon and the People Power Party, however, have been drawing a line on unification rumors.

“Though some who are interested may discuss (unification) it is right for us two to do our best respectively in the election campaign,” Yoon said Sunday, when asked about forming an alliance with Ahn by reporters.

“From the day I was elected as the candidate of my party, I have been saying it is not appropriate for me to mention alliance,” he said. “I still have the same thoughts.”

The People’s Party also drew a line to the rumors.

“Going through the unification discussions after the Seoul mayor election, we realized we would not be able to give people what they want through the politics pursued by People Power Party,” People’s Party floor leader Kwon Eun-hee said on a radio show Monday.

For more information regarding the survey results go to the National Election Survey Deliberation Commission homepage.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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