Public support for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet has fallen to a record 38.9 percent, according to a Kyodo News poll conducted after Sunday’s House of Councilors election.

The disapproval rate was 51 percent, topping 50 percent for the first time since Koizumi took office in April 2001, according to the nationwide telephone survey conducted Monday and Tuesday of 1,073 eligible voters.

The Liberal Democratic Party won 49 seats in the Upper House election, one fewer than the number it had up for grabs and its third-lowest result.

The support rate for Koizumi’s Cabinet has fallen 16 percentage points since the previous survey, held in May. Koizumi enjoyed support levels of more than 80 percent soon after forming his Cabinet.

By political party, 28.8 percent supported the LDP, down 5.5 points, and 27.8 percent backed the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, up 13.5 points. The DPJ won 50 seats in the latest election, up 12.

Some 31.9 percent of respondents called on Koizumi to resign, while 46.4 percent said they want him to stay for the more than two years of his remaining term. A total 17.7 percent said he should serve another year or so.

Of those who disapproved of the Cabinet, 17.5 percent said they had few expectations of its economic policies.

Some 47.5 percent said they consider the election results to be good, while 11.7 percent thought otherwise.

Meanwhile, 48.2 percent supported the move toward a choice between the two major parties and 13 percent did not.

For 40.2 percent, the issue of pension reforms was a key factor in deciding who to vote for, followed by 30.1 percent who focused on the state of the economy, 7.9 percent on the Constitution, 7.3 percent on Iraq and 5.5 percent on North Korea.

The Cabinet support rate, which has been declining lately, was 44.4 percent in a poll conducted Thursday and Friday.

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