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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Corruption Scandal and Vote Switching in South Korea’s 19th Presidential Election

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2019, v.59 no.1, pp.79-105
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2019.59.1.79
(Australian National University)

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Abstract

This paper examines how South Korea’s 2016 corruption scandal and subsequent presidential impeachment affected voter decisions in that country’s 19th presidential election. Both aggregate and individual-level analyses indicate that the landslide defeat of the country’s conservative party does not portend a fundamental shift in voter-party alignment. At the aggregate level, we find that the normal vote share of the conservative party in the 19th presidential election was similar to that of the 18th. At the individual level, an analysis of the 2017 Korean Election Panel Studies data demonstrates that regional and generational cleavages are influential factors in vote switching by majorparty supporters. Aside from their attitudes regarding the impeachment, those who changed their votes from conservative parties generally hold similar issue preferences to those who did not change. Therefore, once the political salience of the impeachment issue wanes, it is questionable whether the current disunity will end.

keywords
corruption scandal impeachment South Korea vote switching cleavages realignment

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