LDP doubles up DPJ in public support


The Liberal Democratic Party has more than twice as much support as the Democratic Party of Japan, according to the latest Kyodo News survey.

The nationwide telephone poll conducted Saturday and Sunday also showed that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has made slight inroads into the popularity of LDP leader Shinzo Abe.

The survey was conducted using calls made to numbers randomly generated by computer. A total of 1,754 eligible voters were reached, of whom 1,217 responded to the survey.

Twenty-three percent of the respondents said they intend to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation section of the Dec. 16 Lower House election, while 10.8 percent said they will vote for the DPJ.

A similar trend was found for single-seat districts, with 24.0 percent saying they will vote for LDP candidates and 10.9 percent saying they vote for DPJ candidates.

Among the so-called third force political groups challenging the DPJ and the LDP, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto earned 6.8 percent and Taiyo no To (Sunrise Party) founded by former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara garnered 1.0 percent.

On Saturday, Hashimoto and Ishihara announced a merger of Taiyo no To and Nippon Ishin No Kai with Ishihara as its head.

In response to a question on who is most suitable to be prime minister, 35.0 percent of the respondents said Abe and 32.1 percent said Noda.

In a previous Kyodo survey conducted Nov. 3 and 4, Abe earned 40.0 percent and Noda 29.8 percent.

The latest figures appear to indicate that Noda succeeded in closing the gap with Abe following a televised one-on-one Diet debate last Wednesday in which the prime minister in a surprise move pledged to dissolve the Lower House on Friday on condition that the LDP cooperates in passing measures on electoral reform.

The latest survey also showed that support for New Komeito stands at 4.0 percent, followed by Your Party at 2.0 percent and the Japanese Communist Party at 1.9 percent.

A total of 43 percent said they have not yet decided which party they will vote for, according to the survey, the first conducted since Noda dissolved the Lower House on Friday.

Asked to identify issues they consider important, 29.2 percent cited social security, including pensions and health care, followed by employment and economic measures at 28.4 percent.

Only 2.6 percent cited Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks, while 9.1 percent cited energy policy, including the use of nuclear power.

A total of 78.2 percent said they are “very interested” or “fairly interested” in the upcoming election, down from 82.8 percent in the first round of a similar series of surveys conducted ahead of the 2009 general election.