Special Mission Minister Jae-oh Lee already knew Cheol-soo Ahn’s political potential

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared inon Novermber 1, 2011 about the political mind of 2030 generations that are considered to play an important role in Seoul mayoral by-election in October 26, 2011. All rights rest on the author of original article orand this post will be scrapped immediately with their request. Original article (in Korean) of this post will be found by the link at the bottom.

Office of Special Mission Minister (OSMM) released an academic report on 1,202 young adults of 20 ~ 39 age surveyed during June ~ July period

Contrary to conventional wisdom, all highly interested in politics but negative to activities of existing parties

83% of 20s ‘positive’ for voting; 71% believe “very knowledgeable to policy legislations”; 91% will do “solo protest if necessary”

“will actively engage in politics if some party or political leader who can represent their interests appears”

OSMM 2030 generation political mind survey exposed that young adults are highly politically motivated contrary to common wisdom. Youngsters are campaigning for voting in October 26 Seoul mayoral by-election. (Photo by Jeong-ah Lee)

Had Special Mission Minister (SMM) Jae-oh Lee known the political potential of Cheol-soo Ahn, the Dean of Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Seoul National University, who left a nuclear bomb grade shock in Korean politics even before he appeared? An OSMM commissioned survey report on ‘2030 generation’, Dean Ahn’s core supporters, who imprinted their political signature over last Seoul mayoral by-election on October 26 is released on November 1.

The ‘Report on the political mind of 2030 young generation’ obtained through the office of Rep. Hye-sook Jeon, Democratic Party, indicated that “contrary to conventional wisdom, 2030 generations are highly aware of political issues but do not think there is any political power who can represent their own interests.” This report is commissioned by OSMM and prepared by Hanyang University Department of Economics and Finance Professor Won-cheol Yoon’s research group who surveyed 1,202 young adults all over Korea of 20 ~ 39 years of age selected based on demographic characteristics. This is the latest material one can grasp the political mind of 2030 generation.

According to this survey, 2030 generation who is considered as a ‘generation indifferent to politics’ turned out to be very highly interested in politics. To a general question asking their willingness to vote, 83.1% of 20s, 78.9% of 30s replied “yes”. To a question about ideological confrontation, those who answered ‘it is necessary’ were 46.1% substantially outnumbering 27.5% who answered the other way.

They were also highly interested in political information. Those who answered “I am very aware of parliamentary politics” reached 59% and those who said they were fairly knowledgeable to governmental policies or bills were also 70.9%. Those who answered “I spend fair amount of my internet time on checking political articles” also reached to 55.6%. Internet (74.5%) easily swept number 2 ranked newspapers (16.1%) as the most favored media for collecting political information.

To the contrary, it turned out that 2030 generation did not align themselves to any political group yet. Awfully 84% of them answered ‘I do not have any political party who represent my own interest’. Among those who said they actually ‘had’, progressives outnumbered conservatives by about 2 folds. Regarding the reasons for not having any political party to favor, “I doubt the effectiveness of political party system” topped with 38.5%. They were highly doubtful about the effectiveness of existing political system and negative responders who said they would project their intentions in the next election if political discrepancies would be noticed reached as much as 73.5%.

Researchers said “young generation’s political indifference is rather paradoxical” and interpreted the result as “although they are very pessimistic about the activities of existing political parties, they are highly probable to proactively participate in politics once a party or a political figure who would represent their own interests appears. That is, it was already reflected in the survey that young generations who were very active on political participation but did not notice any hope in existing political powers became enthusiastic about ‘Cheol-soo Ahn’.

2030 generations were also very proactive in expressing their political opinions. To a question “are you willing to stage a solo protest to express your political opinion?”, 57.1% of all responders said “very much” and 33.8% answered “slightly”, resulting in more than 90% (90.9%) affirmative answers. Also, those who would join related organizations or willingly sponsor politicians of their interest reached as much as 80%.

However, the preference to SNS which is regarded to exert substantial effect in the last Seoul mayoral by-election was unexpectedly not so high in this survey. To a question how much they used SNS, ‘average’ was just 21% and ‘sometimes’ was 30.4%. But, to a question about future plan for using SNS, 62.5% of all responders answered so.

In this survey, they also asked young generations opinions on various social, political issues. Young generations turned out to put high priority on environment and were negative about massive national projects. 60.1% of responders expressed “preserving environment is more important than economic interest” and 45.8% answered “no” to a question whether “massive national projects should go on”. Only 28.1% answered “yes”. To a question about government’s policy priority, stabilization of consumer price topped (42.9%), followed by regional balanced development (18.9%), and upright and fair selection and maintenance of civil servants (12.4%) etc.

Rep. Hye-sook Jeon said “the wind of change for young generations who are proactive in political expression is actually confirmed in the report of OSMM” and continued “government who push retrograding policies such as 4-river project has a lot to think about.”

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