Yoon Suk-yeol's approval rating squeaks above 30%
President Yoon Suk-yeol's approval ratings rebounded to over 30 percent for the first time in eight weeks in a recent poll, just ahead of his 100th day in office on Wednesday.
According to a Realmeter survey released Monday, 30.4 percent of respondents said that Yoon was doing a good job running state affairs, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from the previous week.
In contrast, 67.2 percent of respondents said Yoon was not doing a good job, down 0.6 percentage points from last week.
The latest survey was conducted on 2,515 people over the age of 18 nationwide from Aug. 8th to 12. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
Yoon's approval ratings have been on a downward trend since the fourth week of June and sank to 29.3 percent last week, lower than his predecessors at a similar point in their administrations.
The slight improvement in the numbers comes as the government is listening to feedback and making some changes, with Yoon set to give a press conference to mark the 100th day of his administration Wednesday.
"The downward trend for eight weeks since the fourth week of June stopped and recovered to the 30-percent level," said Bae Cheol-ho, an analyst at Realmeter. "This seems to reflect a positive evaluation of President Yoon's change in his method and attitude towards doorstepping sessions since his vacation and the resignation of Education Minister Park Soon-ae."
Yoon remains most popular with people in their 70s, with 46 percent approving, and least popular with people in their 40s, with only 20.5 percent approving.
Yoon saw plummeting approval ratings at the end of last month after a leadership vacuum in the People Power Party (PPP), controversy over personnel appointments, his education minister's unpopular school entry age policy, and his own gaffes during nearly daily "doorstepping" sessions with reporters.
While being more accessible to media than his predecessors, Yoon's unfiltered and sometimes defensive answers to reporters' questions on his way to work each morning did not appear to help with public approval ratings.
At one point last month, "doorstepping" sessions were abruptly suspended, allegedly due to Covid-19 concerns, but resumed after a day, albeit with the president standing farther away from reporters.
After taking a weeklong vacation at the beginning of this month, Yoon returned with slightly revamped doorstepping sessions, allowing reporters to surround him, giving a more personable impression. He also showed more restraint and humility in his responses, refraining from off-script remarks.
Last week, Education Minister Park Soon-ae, a controversial appointee from the get-go, resigned just 34 days after an immense public backlash to her plan to lower the school starting age by one year to five.
There had been speculation of large reshuffle of the presidential office following the effective sacking of Park, but officials say that the presidential office may hire more people. Trimming the size of the presidential office was one of Yoon's campaign pledges.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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