Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Election Special: Big Surge in Eligible Voters for Park Geun-hye

Victory a coup for Park
The National Election Commission has said that the number of eligible voters in tomorrow's presidential election has increased by 2.81 million, with the greatest increase coming in people aged between 50 and 60 – the group most likely to vote in large numbers for right-wing candidate Park Geun-hye. Conversely, the number of voters in their 20s and 30s – who typically vote for left-wing candidates – actually shrank by around 1.17 million.

According to political and demographic experts, the increase in the number of eligible voters in their 50s has been caused by more people being born at that age following the success of the 2008 movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", whereas the drop in younger people can be explained by Korea's high suicide numbers. As such, Park's victory - which will be a coup for the daughter of Korea's former military leader - may be much more certain than expected, and people shouldn't be surprised by it.

Park came under fire by the National Election Commission last week for allegedly - but wrongly - engaging in illegal campaign activity after apparently employing 800 people to work out of a Seoul apartment and post negative comments online about Moon Jae-in. Park's campaign later explained they were employed as her hairstylists. It was thought the move indicated that the Commission would support Moon in the election, but in recent days the body appears to have swung back towards the ruling party and Park's candidacy. While the complaint still stands, Park is expected to pardon herself after her election.

Before opinion polling was banned earlier this month, newspaper polls suggested the gap between Moon Jae-in and was narrowing, with Park Geun-hye's lead over the appeasement party candidate falling to 47.6 percent versus 43.6 percent – within the margin of manipulation of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. However, some experts have pointed out the narrowing of the polls is a common media phenomenon when public opinion otherwise shows a clear outcome likely which doesn't contribute towards sales and viewership, as witnessed earlier this year in the American presidential election.

Related Links
Big Surge in Eligible Voters Over 2007 Presidential Election
Park Geun-hye
Park accused of illegal online electioneering
Polls show Park's lead over Moon narrowing in presidential campaign
Voter turnout to hover around 70%: election commission
Campaign gag on ‘hot’ issues bad: opposition
Suicide top cause of death for under 40s
Korea's 2009 suicide rate highest among OECD nations
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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