Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is likely to be re-elected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on the first vote, a Kyodo News poll showed Friday.
The result would alleviate the need for a runoff in the Sept. 20 election.
The survey of all local LDP members and affiliates who are eligible to vote in the race shows Koizumi would acquire 63 percent of the local vote — 200 of 300 local party chapters.
In addition, 190 of the LDP’s 357 lawmakers have decided to vote for Koizumi, according to what these Diet members and their aides told Kyodo News.
That would push the prime minister beyond the 329-vote threshold necessary for re-election.
The poll also shows that 41 percent of the local LDP voters wants a House of Representatives general election to be held before the end of the year.
The survey results indicate that Koizumi can begin maneuvering behind the scenes for post-election reshuffles of party executives and Cabinet ministers.
The results also indicate that the prime minister can even prepare for a snap general election.
Of Koizumi’s three challengers, the survey shows former party policy chief Shizuka Kamei getting 23 percent of the vote, and former transport minister Takao Fujii and former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura each receiving 7 percent.
The poll had 1,577 valid responses, of which 86 percent named the man they back.
Diet members’ votes for Koizumi could even top 200, as many of the 40 lawmakers who remain undecided are inclined to jump on the bandwagon.
Among the challengers, Kamei is certain to get more than 50 votes from lawmakers, Fujii more than 40 and Komura more than 20.