June 14 (UPI) -- South Korea's main opposition conservatives could be enjoying a rise in public support after the election of 36-year-old Lee Jun-seok to the leadership of the People Power Party.
A poll conducted by Realmeter on behalf of local network YTN showed that the conservatives have an approval rating of 39.1%, or 10 percentage points more than the ruling Democratic Party.
The support for conservatives is up 1.1%, and down 0.5% for the ruling progressives from the previous week, Dong-A Ilbo reported Monday.
The survey was conducted from June 7 to Friday and asked 2,512 voters age 18 and above about their opinions on domestic politics.
Lee's rise in his party is believed to have had significant influence in the polls. Former South Korean Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl's decision to become more public about a potential presidential run also was a factor, the report said.
Yoon is a conservative who has criticized his opponents in the current administration.
The Democratic Party may have slipped in the polls after a local watchdog said prominent lawmakers may have engaged in illicit real estate transactions that exploited legal loopholes.
Reining in real estate speculation has been a major initiative of President Moon Jae-in but his administration's policies have backfired, analysts have said.
The opposition is enjoying a surge in approval across all age groups, including among South Korean voters in their forties. Voters in their seventies showed the highest support for conservatives at 48.9%.
Lee pledged last week to pay respect to fallen South Korean soldiers if elected to the chairmanship of the People Power Party.
The politician visited Daejeon National Cemetery Monday to honor troops who died during the 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and service members killed in a helicopter crash in 2018, Newsis reported Monday.
Lee also said the needs of veterans of the Cheonan warship were not being addressed by the ruling party, the report said.
Families of the victims of the Cheonan warship sinking have said that they were offended after a ruling Party politician accused the ship's former captain of "burying his men at sea."