Credit: Public domain.
In the past several weeks, the gap between opinion polls based on automated route selection (ARS) versus those based on live telephone interviews has been particularly pronounced. The ARS polls have shown a significant lead for the People Power Party presidential candidate Yun Seok-yeol 윤석열 국민의힘 대선후보 over the Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung 이재명 민주당 후보, while telephone interviews showed a narrow lead or a tie for Lee.
An OhMyNews 오마이뉴스 article from January 29 compared the pollsters that mainly utilized ARS versus the pollsters that mainly conducted phone interviews, and found that the latter companies are larger in headcount and finances. Gallup Korea 한국갤럽, which has conducted the most phone interview surveys this election season (42 polls), has 203 employees whose average annual salary is KRW 44.5m (USD 36.8k). On the other hand, People Networks 피플네트웍스, which has conducted the most ARS surveys this season (146 polls), has three employees whose average annual salary is KRW 34.9m (USD 28.8k).
Among the phone interviewers, the company with the largest headcount was Hankook Research 한국리서치 with 335 employees; among the ARS pollsters, the company with the largest headcount was RealMeter 리얼미터 with 18 employees. But the ARS pollsters have conducted significantly more surveys overall: the top five ARS pollsters combined have conducted 425 polls, while the top five phone interview pollsters have conducted 154 polls.