The Yomiuri ShimbunThirty-four percent of respondents to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey said they would vote for the Liberal Democratic Party in the proportional representation segment of the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election, followed by Kibo no To (Party of Hope) with 19 percent.
The survey results indicate that the upcoming poll will likely boil down to a choice between whether the LDP or the newly established party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike should take the reins of government.
The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a nationwide opinion survey from Thursday evening to Friday, immediately after the Democratic Party decided to effectively be absorbed by Kibo no To following the dissolution of the lower house on Thursday. Campaigning for the general election will kick off on Oct. 10.
The LDP’s 34 percent is the highest among all the political parties, while Kibo no To’s 19 percent is second.
Six percent of respondents said they would vote for Komeito, followed by the Japanese Communist Party with 5 percent, and Nippon Ishin no Kai with 2 percent. The DP was not covered by the latest survey because the main opposition party decided to effectively be absorbed by Kibo no To. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they had not decided which party they will vote for.
In a Yomiuri Shimbun survey conducted immediately after the lower house was dissolved in 2014, 41 percent of respondents said they would vote for the LDP in the proportional representation segment of the lower house election, followed by the Democratic Party of Japan with 14 percent, and Komeito with 6 percent. The LDP swept to a landslide victory in that election.
Abe’s approval dips
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet approval rating dropped by seven percentage points in the latest survey, down to 43 percent from the 50 percent seen in the previous survey conducted from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10. The disapproval rating rose from 39 percent to 46 percent.
The Cabinet approval rating rose for two consecutive surveys, in August and early September, but fell in the latest survey to below the disapproval rating.
In the latest survey, 65 percent of respondents said they do not support Abe’s decision to dissolve the lower house. However, 75 percent of respondents said they are interested in the upcoming lower house election either “very much” or “more or less.” The figure is 10 percentage points higher than in the survey conducted immediately after the lower house was dissolved in 2014.
In his official announcement on Monday that he would dissolve the lower house, Abe said he will seek the people’s mandate for his plan to use increased revenue accrued from a planned consumption tax rate hike for realizing tuition-free preschool and higher education.
Asked about this policy change, 36 percent of respondents said the increased revenue “should be used to repay state debts,” and 27 percent said they “support Abe’s policy.” Thirty-three percent of respondents said “the consumption tax rate should not be raised.” More than 60 percent said the consumption tax rate hike is acceptable.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents said they support Abe’s idea of adding a provision to provide a constitutional basis for the Self-Defense Forces to war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, while keeping the existing article itself intact. Forty-one percent said they oppose it.
In the previous survey, 51 percent of respondents supported the idea and 37 percent opposed it.
The LDP was supported by 32 percent of respondents, down from 40 percent in the previous survey, followed by Kibo no To with 9 percent. Those who said they do not support any particular party stood at 40 percent, down from 45 percent.
Many critical of Koike
The latest survey showed that many respondents are critical of Koike doubling as Tokyo governor and leader of a national political party, or running in the lower house election.
According to the survey, 62 percent of respondents — the largest among the answers given — said she “should focus on her duties as Tokyo governor.” Twenty-one percent said she “should continue to serve as both party leader and Tokyo governor as she is now,” while 12 percent said she “should quit as Tokyo governor and run in the lower house election.”
Among respondents in Tokyo, 53 percent — the highest among all answers — said she “should focus on her duties as Tokyo governor.”
The survey also said 63 percent of respondents “do not support” the DP’s idea of having its members run in the upcoming lower house election on Kibo no To’s official ticket instead of fielding them as its own candidates. Twenty-four percent said they support the DP’s move.
Regarding those who have left the DP or other parties and are seeking to run in the election with Kibo no To’s official endorsement, 79 percent of respondents said Kibo no To “should only accept those whose ideals and policies are in line with [Kibo no To’s].” Only 9 percent said Kibo no To “should accept all of them.”
The survey was conducted by calling 953 households with fixed-line phones and 1,350 mobile phone users — all aged 18 or older — using a random digit dialing method. Of them, 560 people on fixed lines and 577 people on mobile phones — 1,137 in total — gave valid answers. Speech