By Yi Whan-woo
Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People' Party is continuing to pose a threat to his biggest rival Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) in the presidential race, according to a poll, Thursday.
Moon, who enjoyed a months-long lead, still ranks first with support of 44.8 percent, followed by Ahn, who has soared rapidly in a couple of weeks, with support of 36.5 percent, in a survey conducted by Realmeter.
Ahn's support rose by 2.4 percentage points from a week ago, when he emerged as Moon's rival after being elected as the People's Party candidate and apparently absorbed both centrist and conservative voters who are against Moon.
The rest of the candidates all have single-digit support -- Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP), 8.1 percent; Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party, 2.8 percent; and Rep. Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party, 1.7 percent.
The poll was carried out on 1,525 adults from Monday to Wednesday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.
Other recent polls showed that the presidential race is coming down to a two-way race between Ahn and Moon, with the former overtaking the latter.
Ahn had support of 38.3 percent of respondents this week -- overtaking Moon by 0.3 percentage points -- in a Hankook Research poll. Another poll by the Korea Research Center showed Ahn with 36.8 percent compared to Moon's 32.7 percent. In a hypothetical two-way competition, Ahn beat Moon by more than 10 percentage points, 49.4 percent to 36.2 percent.
In the Realmeter poll, the DPK gained support of 44.8 percent, followed by 26.5 percent for the People's Party, 9 percent for the LKP, 5.1 percent for the Justice Party, and 3.7 percent for the Bareun Party.