By Rachel Lee
The gap between leading presidential contender Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and runner-up Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party widened further after the second televised presidential debate, Wednesday, according to polls released Friday.
A Gallup Korea poll showed Moon garnered 41 percent of the support, up 1 percentage point from the previous week, while Ahn's support dropped by 7 percentage points to 30 percent.
Moon currently holds an 11 percentage point lead over Ahn. After their first TV debate on April 13, Moon had a lead of 7 percentage points over Ahn.
Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) had 9 percent of the support, followed by Sim Sang-jung of the minor progressive Justice Party with only 4 percent and Yoo Seong-min of the minor conservative Bareun Party with 3 percent.
The poll also found that Ahn lost more support from female voters than male voters this week. Ahn's support among women fell from 34 percent to 25 percent. For men, the figure dropped from 40 percent to 35 percent. By region, Ahn's support from Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province dropped by half from 48 percent to 23 percent, and Incheon and Gyeonggi Province from 38 percent to 28 percent.
However, Moon's support from Daejeon, Sejong and the Chungcheong provinces went up dramatically from 39 percent to 46 percent, the poll showed. More support was attracted in Gwangju and the Jeolla provinces from 47 percent to 51 percent. Gallup Korea said Ahn's falling support could have come as the official presidential campaign kicked off, which included intensified candidate verification.
The survey was conducted with 1,004 adults from April 18 to 20 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
According to a Research View survey Friday, Moon had 43.3 percent of the support, taking the lead with 12 percentage points over Ahn, who garnered 31.3 percent. Both Moon and Ahn's support dropped by 2.7 and 5.3 percentage points from the previous week, respectively, but the gap between the two contenders widened by 3.5 percentage points, the poll found.
The survey also showed that Hong recorded 11.4 percent and Sim 5 percent of the support, up 2.6 and 2 percentage points from the previous week, respectively. Yoo had 1.4 percent of the support, up 3.8 percentage points.
Almost 55 percent of the respondents said Moon would most likely win the presidential election whereas 31.6 percent said Ahn would win, the poll showed.
The survey also found that the DPK ranked first in approval with 41.2 percent, followed by the People's Party (21.5 percent), the LKP (13 percent), the Justice Party (7.7 percent) and the Bareun Party (5.4 percent).
The telephone survey was conducted with 2,004 adults between April 18 and 20, and had a margin of error of 2.2 percent.