LDP slowly widening gap with Nippon Ishin, DPJ: poll

Kyodo

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party is still in the lead to win the Dec. 16 general election, results said Monday, with its main competitors, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, still in second and third place, respectively.

In a nationwide telephone poll conducted Saturday and Sunday by Kyodo news, 21.1 percent of the 1,240 respondents said they intend to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section of the House of Representatives election, up 2.7 points from the previous poll on Dec. 1 and 2.

Support for Nippon Ishin, led by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and founder Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, stands at 10.6 percent, up 0.2 point from the previous poll.

Support for the ruling DPJ had meanwhile climbed to 10.3 percent, up 1 point.

No margin of error was given.

Asked who is more suitable to be prime minister — current Prime Minister and DPJ leader Yoshihiko Noda or LDP chief Shinzo Abe — 39.2 percent of the respondents said Abe and 30.7 percent Noda, compared with 34.3 percent and 32.2 percent in the previous survey, respectively.

Abe had narrowly led Noda in that regard in all three of the pre-election polls Kyodo has conducted since mid-November, but the gap widened to 8.5 points this time around.

Opposition force and LDP ally New Komeito fell to 4.1 percent support, down from 4.8 percent in the previous survey, followed by Your Party, which climbed to 3.9 percent from 2.9 percent.

Support for the Japanese Communist Party stood at 3.1 percent, unchanged from the previous poll, followed by the newly launched Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) headed by Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada at 2.3 percent, down from 3.5 percent, and the Social Democratic Party at 0.9 percent, up from 0.5 percent.

New Party Daichi and the New Renaissance Party won backing of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, compared 0.1 percent each in the previous survey.

The support rating for Noda’s Cabinet stood at 24.9 percent, down slightly from 26.8 percent in the previous poll.

In a separate survey by Jiji Press, 32.4 percent of voters think Japan should reduce its reliance on nuclear power to zero while 54.0 percent agreed it should be reduced, but not to zero.

The poll, conducted over three days starting Friday, also said 9.6 percent favor the continuation use of atomic power.

Among those favoring the zero option, 14.0 percent said they will vote for the DPJ, which is campaigning to slash nuclear power reliance to zero by 2040, for the proportional representation part of the election.

That’s slightly higher than 13.5 percent of zero-option voters who intend to vote for the LDP, which officially remains undecided on the issue but has traditionally backed the nation’s complicitous “nuclear village” and big business for decades.