Graph: Yoon Suk-yeol's approval rating (blue line) since his inauguration, based on Gallup Korea's weekly poll. Credit: No Cut News.
In most of the opinion polls marking Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 대통령’s first 100 days, the president fared poorly with an approval rating between the high 20s and low 30s. In the SBS News/NextResearch 넥스트리서치 poll, the approval rating for Yoon was 29.6%. In the JTBC News/Global Research 글로벌리서치 poll, the approval was 29.9%; CBS News/Jowon C&I 조원씨엔아이 poll, 32.9%; Hankook Ilbo 한국일보/Hankook Research 한국리서치 poll, 29.5%; KBS News/Hankook Research, 28.0%; MBC News/Korea Research 코리아리서치, 28.6%; UPI News/Next Week Research, 30.6%.
In the regular Gallup Korea 한국갤럽 poll, which has been conducted since the beginning of South Korea’s democratic transition in 1987, Yoon’s approval at the 100 day mark was 28%, the second lowest in South Korean history. Yoon’s two immediate predecessors, Park Geun-hye 박근혜 and Moon Jae-in 문재인, had 53% and 78% approval ratings respectively at their 100 day mark.
Only Lee Myung-bak 이명박’s 100 day mark was worse at 21%, as Lee at the time was facing a massive Candlelight Protest 촛불시위 sparked by the revision in the Korea-US free trade agreement that allegedly would have allowed the importation of beef from cattle infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as the Mad Cow Disease. In contrast, Yoon is yet to face a major scandal or disaster except, arguably, the lackadaisical response to the deadly flash flood in Seoul. (See previous coverage, “Yoon Responds to Flood with Apathy.”)
The approval rating for Yoon’s policies roughly tracked his overall approval. In the Gallup Korea poll, Yoon’s North Korea policy received the highest mark at 34%, followed by real estate policy (30%) and foreign policy (29%). Yoon received the lowest marks in education policy (11%) and appointments (16%), reflecting the botched rollout of the proposal to lower the school age that resulted in the resignation of Education Minister Park Sun-ae 박순애 교육부 장관.
In the Sisa Journal 시사저널/Kanta Public 칸타퍼블릭 poll asking to select three persons who have the greatest influence over the president, 59.4% said the First Lady Kim Geon-hee 김건희 영부인, who took the top spot over politicians. (The second place was the Justice Minister Han Dong-hun 한동훈 법무부장관 with 32.8%.) Yet Kim is not much more popular than her husband - her approval was 28.9% in the UPI News/Next Week Research poll. The same poll also asked respondents to pick a word that reminded them of the Yoon administration. “Despair 절망” was the top response with 33.1%, followed by “Fair 공정” (23.1%) and “Unfair 불공정” (15.1%).