About a quarter of voters who support no particular political party cast their ballots for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the proportional representation part of Sunday’s Upper House election, according to a Jiji Press exit poll.
With 25.8 percent, the LDP garnered the largest share of unaffiliated votes in the poll, which the ruling bloc won in a landslide, the survey showed.
The LDP figure was up 5.1 percentage points from December’s Lower House election.
It was the first time in the past decade that the LDP has captured the largest share of unaffiliated votes in a national election.
In the nationwide proportional representation section of the Upper House poll, voters were asked to choose either a political party or a candidate listed under the system. In addition, each voter cast a ballot for a candidate in a prefectural constituency.
The LDP was followed by Your Party, with 15.4 percent, up 2.6 points from the Lower House election. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), which took the top share of unaffiliated votes in the Lower House poll, came third, with 15.3 percent, down 8.8 points.
The share for the Democratic Party of Japan fell 3.3 points to 13 percent.
Combined, the three opposition parties accounted for 43.7 percent of the unaffiliated vote — a figure much higher than the LDP number — suggesting that a realignment of opposition parties could create a competitive alternative to the LDP-led ruling coalition.
The Japanese Communist Party held a share of 11.2 percent, up 5.7 points, for fifth place, up from seventh. It was followed by New Komeito, the LDP coalition partner, with 7.5 percent, up 1.2 points.
A total of 34,011 voters responded to the exit poll. Of the total, unaffiliated voters accounted for 34.5 percent, up 1.6 points.
Separately Monday, the Foreign Ministry said the number of Japanese living abroad who cast ballots in Sunday’s election totaled 25,922 for proportional representation voting and 25,454 for prefectural constituencies.
Voting for the Upper House election took place at 215 Japanese embassies and consulates abroad as well as by mail.
Turnout among Japanese living abroad came to 22.97 percent for the proportional representation section and 22.56 percent for prefectural constituencies.
Japan introduced the expatriate voting system ahead of the 2000 Lower House election.