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LDP’s lead intact ahead of election: poll

Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s support rating has barely changed ahead of the Upper House election, reflecting the substantial lead it holds over the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, a survey said Sunday.

The nationwide telephone survey conducted over the weekend said that 30.6 percent of the public intends to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section of the House of Councilors election on Sunday, compared with 29.8 percent a week ago.

No margin of error was given.

The support rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet meanwhile stood at 65.3 percent, up slightly from 64.2 percent in the previous survey, with 24.7 percent against the Cabinet, down from 26.5 percent.

Meanwhile, 50.6 percent of the respondents oppose restarting any nuclear power plants that manage to pass the revamped safety standards, compared with 40.0 percent who support restarts. The pro-nuclear LDP intends to restart any nuclear reactors that pass the test, after the national outcry from the Fukushima disaster forced the government to idle all of them. Only two have been restarted.

In terms of the proportional representation section, the DPJ had the second-highest level of support at 7.4 percent, up 0.3 point from a week ago, followed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, New Komeito, at 7 percent, up 1.4 points.

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), co-led by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, had a support rating of 4.9 percent, up 0.6 point.

The Japanese Communist Party was supported by 3.8 percent, down 0.8 point, Your Party by 3.3 percent, down 0.3 point, the People’s Life Party by 1.5 percent, up 0.6 point, the Social Democratic Party by 0.7 percent, down 0.1 point, and the Green Wind party by 0.2 percent, down 0.1 point.

But swing voters again may hold the key to the election.

Of the respondents, 34.3 percent said they had not decided which party to vote for in the proportional representation section of the race, down 3.8 points from last week’s survey.

A total of 73.9 percent said they are interested in the election “greatly” or “to some extent,” up 3 points from the previous survey.

As for the debut of online campaigning, 25.6 percent said they prefer gathering information online “greatly” or “to some extent,” down 7.8 points from the previous week in what appears to be a downtrend.

On campaign issues, 35.1 percent said they will focus on measures to boost the economy and create jobs, 26.6 percent said the would boost the social security system, including pensions and medical care, while 9.7 percent said they “will focus on the planned consumption tax hike.”

As for the outcome of the election, 56.8 percent said it would be desirable for the ruling parties to secure a majority in the Upper Chamber to mend the bickering in the Diet and return to the old LDP-dominated one-party system, while 29.9 percent said it would be better to keep the upper chamber out of the hands of the ruling bloc, which already controls the more powerful House of Representatives.

The telephone survey covered 1,771 eligible voters and drew responses from 1,233.