The Yomiuri ShimbunVoters who opposed the Abe administration were divided in Sunday’s House of Representatives election, according to a joint exit poll by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Nippon TV network.
Of the respondents with no party affiliation, 30 percent voted for the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and just over 20 percent for Kibo no To (Party of Hope) in the proportional representation blocs of the lower house election.
According to the poll, the CDPJ won the support of the most swing voters, followed by Kibo with 22 percent and the Liberal Democratic Party with 19 percent. Nippon Ishin no Kai received 9 percent of the swing votes, the Japanese Communist Party secured 8 percent, Komeito got 6 percent and the Social Democratic Party received 2 percent.
Asked which political party the respondents had supported before the new political parties were established prior to the election, 45 percent of respondents said they had supported the LDP.
Sixteen percent said they had no party affiliation, while 15 percent said they had supported the Democratic Party. Komeito, the JCP and Ishin were each supported by 5 percent of respondents. Among those who had supported the DP, 58 percent voted for the CDPJ in the proportional representation blocs, far exceeding Kibo’s 26 percent.
Kibo only allowed people to join the party who agreed with it regarding the security legislation and other issues. It appears the party’s policy of exclusion turned off some voters, which caused Kibo to lose the momentum it had initially generated when it was established. As a result, a large number of anti-Abe administration voters chose the CDPJ.
One of the key characteristics of the latest general election was that ruling-party candidates ran against multiple opposition candidates, including former DP members who were running as independents, in about 80 percent of all constituencies.
In Tokyo Constituency No. 11, LDP candidate Hakubun Shimomura won against three first-time candidates: Junichiro Maeda of the CDPJ, Kibo candidate Chie Shishido and the JCP’s Azuma Kozutsumi.
Shimomura resigned as the head of the LDP’s Tokyo chapter to take responsibility for the crushing defeat to Tomin First no Kai, a regional party headed by Tokyo governer and Kibo leader Yuriko Koike, in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in July. Facing a political headwind, Shimomura got only 18 percent of swing votes, while winning votes from 74 percent of LDP supporters and slightly over 60 percent of Komeito supporters. Swing voters were divided — 47 percent voted for Maeda, 19 percent for Shishido and 13 percent for Kozutsumi.
In Tokyo Constituency No. 24, LDP candidate Koichi Hagiuda won over three first-time candidates — Narihisa Takahashi from the CDPJ, Mika Yoshiba of Kibo and JCP candidate Miyako Iida. Hagiuda won votes from 76 percent of LDP supporters and slightly over 70 percent of Komeito supporters. Of swing voters, 40 percent voted for Takahashi, 27 percent for Hagiuda, 22 percent for Yoshiba and 9 percent for Iida.
In some of the 57 constituencies where a ruling party candidate and an opposition candidate were in an effective head-to-head race, opposition candidates fought a good fight.
In Hokkaido Constituency No. 11, Kaori Ishikawa, a first-time candidate from the CDPJ, defeated Yuko Nakagawa, an LDP candidate who had been elected there for two consecutive terms.
Ishikawa won 74 percent of the swing votes and almost 90 percent of the votes from JCP supporters. Nakagawa won only 24 percent of the swing votes.
In Niigata Constituency No. 4, independent candidate Makiko Kikuta won a close race against LDP candidate Megumi Kaneko. In the previous lower house election, Kikuta was defeated in the single-seat constituency.