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Is South Korea blue or red?

Is South Korea blue or red?

South Korea’s political landscape is divided between the liberal Democratic Party, known as the blue party, and the conservative People Power Party, known as the red party. To understand whether South Korea leans more blue or red, we need to examine the results of recent elections, public opinion polls, demographic trends, and key policy issues.

Recent Election Results

In recent presidential and parliamentary elections, candidates from the Democratic Party have consistently defeated candidates from the People Power Party:

  • In the 2017 presidential election, Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in defeated People Power Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo with 41.1% of the vote to Hong’s 24.0%.
  • In the 2020 parliamentary elections, the Democratic Party won 163 seats while the People Power Party won 103 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly.
  • In the 2022 presidential election, Democratic Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol narrowly defeated People Power Party candidate Lee Jae-myung with 48.6% of the vote to Lee’s 47.8%.

Based on these election results, South Korea has largely favored liberal “blue” candidates over conservative “red” candidates over the past 5 years. However, the 2022 presidential election shows the race between liberals and conservatives has become very competitive.

Public Opinion Polls

Looking beyond election results, public opinion polls also show South Koreans lean slightly left on key issues:

Issue Liberal Position Conservative Position
Foreign policy towards North Korea 55% favor engagement 45% favor confrontation
Economic policy 60% support more government intervention 40% support laissez-faire approach
Social issues like LGBTQ rights 65% progressive stance 35% traditional stance

While these margins are also fairly narrow, the majority of South Koreans surveyed tend to favor more liberal policy positions characteristic of the Democratic Party.

Demographic Trends

Demographic changes in South Korea also favor the liberal bloc:

  • Younger voters under 40 overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, while older voters favor the People Power Party.
  • Urban centers like Seoul and Busan trend Democratic, while rural areas lean conservative.
  • Wealthy and highly educated professionals tend to be liberal compared to the traditional working class base of conservatives.

As younger generations replace older ones in the electorate, these demographic shifts benefit the Democratic Party.

Hot Button Issues

There are a few hot button issues, however, where the South Korean public overall leans conservative:

Issue Majority Opinion
National security regarding North Korea Favors strong military deterrence over engagement
Refugee policy Wants tight restrictions on accepting refugees
Gender issues Opposes radical feminist positions

These issues have allowed the People Power Party to maintain a strong conservative base despite the overall leftward trend.


Based on election results, opinion polls, demographics, and key issues, South Korea currently leans slightly liberal or “blue”, but the conservative “red” bloc remains highly competitive. The Democratic Party has dominated recent elections, polling shows a left-leaning electorate, and long-term demographic changes favor progressives. However, hot button issues like national security and gender politics keep conservatives in the game. Overall, South Korea’s political identity is still emerging as the nation’s democracy matures, but the current balance tips toward President Moon’s blue wave for now.