Park’s approval ratings drop over health minister debacle

President Park Geun-hye's approval ratings dropped 11 per cent in three weeks last month in a period that saw her scale back her pension pledge and her health minister resign, survey showed.

Of the 1,021 adults surveyed by Gallup Korea from Monday to Wednesday last week, 56 per cent said they approved of Park's administration, a 4 percentage point drop from the previous week.

Her approval rating had hovered above 60 per cent in September, reaching 67 per cent in the second week of last month. But the ratings dropped 7 percentage points in the following two weeks and continued to decline, Gallup said.

Negative evaluations of Park's administration surpassed the 30 per cent mark for the first time since she took office in February, recording 34 per cent.

The largest number of respondents, or 36 per cent, said they became negative of Park's change of stance on her pledges and her insufficient implementation of them.

A further 10 per cent of the respondents ― compared to 2 per cent the previous week ― took issue with Park's personnel style, including the resignation of former Health Minister Chin Young over differences with Cheong Wa Dae regarding changes to the basic pension scheme, and the allegedly forced resignation of former prosecutor general Chae Dong-wook over a suspected extramarital affair and love child.

Other respondents cited "poor communication with the people" and "undisclosed and not transparent operation."

While those discontent over Park's management style surged, a majority appeared to concede to the government's revised basic pension plan, with 62 per cent saying they agreed. Among the 26 per cent of those who opposed were seen in their 30s (34 per cent), and 40s (40 per cent), supportive of the opposition Democratic Party (39 per cent), non-party supporter (31 per cent) and those with "white collar" jobs (38 per cent).

The lower approval ratings were also expected to be reflected in other polls, with Realmeter's president Lee Taek-soo saying their survey is also expected to show around mid to high 50 per cent mark this week.