More Tokyo voters are leaning toward candidates from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party in the assembly election July 6 than four years ago, according to a Kyodo News poll.

In the poll of 501 men and 499 women conducted July 5 and July 6, 19.8 percent of respondents said they would vote for LDP candidates. The figure is more than 6 percentage points above the 13.1 percent the LDP obtained in a similar poll shortly before the previous metropolitan assembly election in 1993 when the party faired poorly amid a boom of new parties.

In the recent survey, The JCP was backed by 8 percent of the respondents, twice as high as the figure in the previous poll, reflecting the party’s advances in recent local elections. But the poll also shows the biggest portion of respondents, 52.5 percent, either did not specify which party they would vote for or gave no answer.

Komei, backed by Soka Gakkai, the country’s largest lay Buddhist organization, was picked by 5.1 percent of respondents, followed by the Democratic Party of Japan, 4.8 percent; Shinshinto, 1.9 percent; and the Social Democratic Party, 1.6 percent. The poll shows that 58.9 percent of respondents are interested in the election, with 84.9 percent replying that they will probably vote.

Asked to choose up to two areas of prime concern, the largest portion of respondents, 39.4 percent, cited health care and welfare; 35.1 percent singled out the environment.

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