DPJ eclipses LDP in proportional representation poll

Voters consider pension reform policy as primary issue in Upper House election, survey finds

The Democratic Party of Japan trumps the Liberal Democratic Party as the party of choice among people surveyed recently on the proportional representation portion of the July 11 House of Councilors election.

Support for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet stood at 45.2 percent in the Kyodo News survey conducted Thursday and Friday, down 2.2 percentage points from a poll conducted a week earlier. The disapproval rating stood at 48.7 percent, up 3.3 points.

The telephone poll found that 22.9 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for the DPJ in proportional representation, against 21.5 percent expressing preference for the LDP. The nationwide survey covered 1,284 respondents.

Asked what is the most important factor when deciding which political party will receive their vote, 53.7 percent said pension policy.

Of those who said they will vote for the opposition DPJ in the proportional representation segment, 64.8 percent said they will do so out of concern over the pension situation.

The ruling bloc on June 5 pushed through the Diet a set of bills that will cut benefits under the government-run pension program, while increasing premiums.

The poll also found that 16.1 percent said they will vote for the DPJ out of concern over the state of the economy.

A total of 121 Upper House seats are up for grabs in the upcoming election.

Of them, 48 will be assigned to winning candidates who are now on parties’ proportional representation lists. The remaining 73 will be selected in head-to-head district elections.

Asked which party they will vote for at the district level, 21.4 percent picked the LDP and 20.9 percent said the DPJ.

The percentage of respondents who said they are either “deeply” or “mildly” interested in the upcoming election came to 71 percent, up 5.2 points from the previous poll.