(Tokyo Shimbun: January 3, 2016 – p. 2)
Nihon Yoron Chosakai [a nationwide public opinion polling organization made up of Kyodo News and a total of 38 media outlets from among its subscribers including the Tokyo Shimbun] conducted a face-to-face public opinion survey across the nation on Dec. 5–6, 2015, to probe public attitudes on this summer’s Upper House elections. The poll found that 54% hope the ruling and opposition parties hold equal power in the House of Councillors after the summer elections. About 30% said that “It would be best if the ruling parties continued to hold the majority” while 8% said that “It would be best if the opposition parties held the majority.” About 57% of respondents said they hope that members who favor constitutional amendment would make up two-thirds of both the Upper and Lower Houses so that it would be possible to make a motion to amend the Constitution. This figure exceeded the 33% who did not want this.
In light of the fact that two combined prefectural single-member electoral districts that consist of two prefectures each will be used for the first time in these Upper House elections, respondents were asked for their views on the future of the election system. In the poll, only 20% said they favored rectifying “vote-weight discrepancies” by using combined districts. The most common response was “priority should be placed on selecting delegates based on prefectural units” at 37%, followed by those saying that “the current system should be radically reformed” at 34%.
When asked which political party they planned to vote for, 42% of respondents said the Liberal Democratic Party, dramatically above those planning to vote for other parties. The Democratic Party of Japan was next at 11%. Osaka Ishinnokai and Komeito were 5% each while the Japanese Communist Party was 4% and the Japan Innovation Party was 2%, followed by the Social Democratic Party and the People’s Life Party at 1% each, and the Party for Future Generations (now called “Party for Japanese Kokoro”), the Assembly to Energize Japan, and the New Renaissance Party at less than 0.5% each.
Opinion was divided regarding collaboration among the opposition parties: 39% said that “the parties should engage in election cooperation” while 35% indicated that “several of the parties should join together to form one party” and 19% responded that “the various parties should each run alone.”
When asked to name key issues (a maximum of two answers permitted), 34% cited tax matters, including the increase of the consumption tax to 10% and the reduced tax rates; 30% mentioned the security-related legislation; and 29% said the Abe administration’s economic policies, including Abenomics. Constitutional amendment was cited by 17% of pollees. A total of 65% indicated that they were either “very interested” or “somewhat interested” in the Upper House elections while 35% said that they were either “not very interested” or “not interested at all.”
Those opposed to the security legislation outnumbered those in favor 49% to 44%. Those who thought that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would have a positive impact on agriculture were about equal to those who thought the trade pact would have a negative impact.
Note: Figures [in the text] are rounded off to the nearest whole number.