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Public support for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has dipped to 27.9 percent, falling below the 30 percent mark ahead of the pivotal House of Councilors election in July, according to the latest Kyodo News poll released Tuesday.

The figure is 3.7 points lower than a Feb. 26 telephone poll and marks the first time support for the LDP has fallen below 30 percent since September 1998, shortly after the party suffered a major setback in the previous Upper House election.

The latest survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews and was based on answers from 1,933 respondents aged 20 or older who were interviewed over the weekend.

Support for the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan stands at 15.4 percent, down 1.8 points from the February poll.

The Social Democratic Party has a 4.2 percent support rate, ruling coalition member New Komeito and the opposition Liberal Party both have 4.1 percent, the Japanese Communist Party stands at 3.9 percent and the third coalition member New Conservative Party is at 0.3 percent.

Respondents who did not express support for any party reached 32.6 percent, up 2.5 points.

Meanwhile, support for Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s Cabinet is at 13.6 percent, with a disapproval rate of 81.8 percent.

When asked to select a reason, 27.7 percent of those who oppose the Cabinet cited a lack of trust in the prime minister, 27.1 percent said Mori lacks leadership qualities and 17.3 percent said they do not believe he will live up to their expectations on economic policy.

Among the respondents who support Mori, 46.2 percent said they do because there is no other appropriate politician; 23.3 percent said they trust the prime minister.

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