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The Democratic Party of Japan took a surprising and large lead in support ratings over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party by 61 percent to 19 percent in an Internet survey immediately after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Lower House on Friday.

As of 5 p.m., 61 percent of the 5,679 respondents polled by Kyodo News and Yahoo Japan Corp. said they support candidates from the DPJ, while only 19 percent said they support LDP candidates.

New Komeito, one of the LDP’s coalition partners, polled 7 percent and another opposition group, the Japanese Communist Party, received 4 percent.

The survey asked, “Which party’s candidate will you support in the general election after the Lower House dissolution?”

Respondents were asked to choose one of 10 listed parties or independent groupings.

The survey started immediately after the house was dissolved around 1 p.m. Friday. It included responses from minors and others not eligible to vote in the Nov. 9 election, unlike opinion polls conducted only on eligible voters.

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