Noda Cabinet support rate hits record low

JIJI

The support rate for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet hit a record low of 17.3 percent in November, down 6.1 percentage points from the previous month, according to a Jiji Press survey that was conducted before Noda said Wednesday that he will dissolve the Lower House on Friday.

The Cabinet’s disapproval rate rose to a record high 62.3 percent, up 5.6 points.

The approval rate for Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan fell 0.7 point to 6.6 percent, the lowest point since the party came to power in 2009.

The poor results are believed to be due to recent Cabinet missteps, including the flip-flop by education minister Makiko Tanaka over the accreditation process of new universities, and the resignation of former Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka, who had allegedly received illegal funds and had yakuza connections.

The survey was conducted on 1,272 adults nationwide for four days through Sunday via interviews.

The support rate for the Noda Cabinet is just above the 16.3 percent recorded in July 2009 for the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Taro Aso, who as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party dissolved the House of Representatives for a snap election. The LDP lost the Lower House poll held the following month and ceded power to the DPJ.

The latest survey showed that 5.7 percent of supporters of the Noda Cabinet said there is no better choice, while 5.6 percent said they trust him and 4.2 percent said it makes no real difference who is in charge.

Of those who disapproved, 39.3 percent said the Noda Cabinet offers no hope, 26.2 percent said its policies are bad and 24.1 percent said Noda lacks leadership.

Support for the LDP fell 0.2 point to 16.6 percent.

The support rates for other parties remained almost flat, except for Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Restoration Party), led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, which saw support rise 1.3 points to 2.5 percent.

Those who do not support any particular party totaled 65.0 percent.

LDP chief Shinzo Abe outperformed Noda when respondents were asked to choose between the two for prime minister, with Abe appealing to 32.2 percent, while Noda was favored by 17.2 percent. But as much as 50.6 percent found it impossible to choose or said they cannot answer the question.

Asked what they desired of the next government, 41.1 percent said they hope it will emerge from political realignment.

Those pinning their hopes on former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s new party, Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party), totaled 36.6 percent, against 52.0 percent who replied in the negative.

Regarding the political framework, 21.9 percent favored a government led by the LDP and 14.2 percent backed a grand coalition of the DPJ and LDP. Only 5.0 percent supported a government led solely by the DPJ.