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Last South Korean polls prior to election put Park over the Moon

SEOUL -- The last polls allowed before next week's South Korean presidential election all showed a lead for conservative favorite Park Geun-hye over her liberal rival, but by varying margins.

The four surveys published Thursday, but based on data gathered before North Korea's provocative launch of a long-range rocket on Wednesday, put Park's lead over Moon Jae-in as narrow as 0.5 points or as wide as 3.5 points.

A poll commissioned by KBS TV gave Park, the ruling party candidate, 44.9 percent of the vote, compared to 41.4 percent for Moon from the opposition Democratic United Party.

Another commissioned by JTBC TV put the lead at 48 percent for Park over 47.5 for Moon.

Poll numbers have fluctuated quite widely over the course of the campaign, but shown Park with a consistent edge in the race to the Dec. 19 ballot.

Moon had been hoping to receive a boost with the withdrawal last month of the left-leaning independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, a software mogul who threw his support behind Moon, but with only lukewarm enthusiasm.

Daily opinion polls by the independent polling agency Real Meter indicated that Moon had gained some ground in recent days.

Support for Park slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent from Saturday to Wednesday, while Moon's figures rose from 44.1 percent to 47.5 percent, Real Meter said.

Under South Korea's election law, no more polls will be allowed before next Wednesday's ballot.

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