|Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl participates in an event at the Supreme Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul in this February photo. Yonhap|
Although an appointee of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Yoon has been considered a potential candidate for the conservative opposition bloc in recent months, following a series of conflicts with the administration over corruption investigations involving pro-Moon figures.
According to the poll conducted by Realmeter of 2,537 adults last week, Yoon came in third with 10.1 percent, behind Rep. Lee Nak-yon of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) with 30.8 percent, and Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung, also a DPK member, with 15.6 percent.
This is the first Realmeter survey on potential presidential candidates in which Yoon was included. The support rate for Lee Nak-yon fell by 3.5 percentage points from the previous month, while that for Lee Jae-myung rose by 1.4 percentage points.
"Yoon has gained support from people favoring the opposition bloc, who used to support other conservative contenders such as Hong Joon-pyo, Hwang Kyo-ahn, Oh Se-hoon or Ahn Cheol-soo," the poll agency said in a release.
In the survey, Hong, former leader of the Liberty Korea Party, a predecessor of the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), gained 5.3 percent of support; former UFP head Hwang, 4.8 percent; former Seoul mayor Oh, 4.4 percent; and People's Party head Ahn, 3.9 percent.
Support for the prosecutor general began to build over his conflicts with former Justice Minister Cho Kuk over the intense investigation into corruption allegations against Cho, and then with incumbent Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae over multiple issues. As both Cho and Choo are close aides to the President, Yoon has been floated as a presidential contender by those who disapprove of the Moon administration.
But Yoon himself has never expressed intention to run for the presidency.