I noted last week that rising progressive star Moon Jae-in was gaining on Democratic Party chair, Sohn Hak-kyu, in polling for next year’s presidential election in Korea and was in striking distance of overtaking him.

Scratch that.

Moon has now overtaken Sohn and is leading among all progressives.

Moon Jae-in, head of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, now leads all other progressive in the Realmeter presidential poll. (Naver photo)

The latest poll from Realmeter has Moon’s support at 9.8 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from last week.  Sohn also rose, by 0.7 percentage points, to 9.4 percent. Rhyu Si-min, the other leading progressive candidate, also gain ground and stands at 7.7 percent.

While there is a lot of volitility from week-to-week in the poll numbers, Moon’s rising trend over the past few months is clear.

As always, Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party, leads all candidates with 32.2 percent.

The combined totals of all major GNP figures (Park, Oh Se-hoon, Kim Moon-soo and Jung Mong-joon) is 43.7 percent while that of Democatic Party leaders (Sohn, Han Myeong-suk and Chung Dong-young) and People’ Participation Party chair Rhyu is 34.3 percent.

(I believe that a unification of the DP and PPP are likely since there is little ideological difference between the two. After several electoral failures over the past two years, Rhyu must know by know that he has no hope of winning the presidency without the organization of the Democrats behind him. That will eventually force him to accede to the Democrat’s attempts to bring his party under their wing.)

Moon continues to deny his interest in the presidency, saying that there is “zero possibility” that he will seek elective office.  Instead, he continues his work on unifying the various progressive parties ahead of legislative elections next spring. That work keeps him in the spotlight without having to make a commitment to run.  Moon is unlikely to officially declare himself a candidate for the presidency until after those elections.

In other news from the Realmeter poll, President Lee Myung-bak continues to sit in the low 30′s in public support and the Grand National Party maintains a small lead over the Democrats in total support.

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Realmeter contacted 3,750 people by random digit dialing (3,000 on land lines and 750 on cell phones).  They called 750 people per day between August 1 and August 5. The poll has a margin of error of 1.6 percent and a confidence of 95 percent; in other words, we can be 95 percent sure that Moon Jae-in’s real support in among the general public is between 8.2 percent and 11.4 percent.