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Those critical of the Abe administration have nowhere to go

  • 2016-01-25 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: January 25, 2016 – p. 2)

 

 When Nikkei [and TV Tokyo] in their poll asked respondents which political party they planned to vote for in the summer House of Councillors elections, 36% said they would vote for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Only 9% said that they would vote for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and the figures for the other opposition parties were also low. Slightly over 40% said they were undecided, twice the percentage undecided in January 2013 prior to the previous House of Councillors election. This points to the reality that there are few alternatives for those opposed to the Abe administration and such people have no place to go.

 

 The pollsters read a list of political parties to each respondent and asked them to name “the political party they wanted to vote for” or “the political party of the candidate they wanted to vote for” in the Upper House elections.

 

 Few selected the opposition parties. The most frequently selected opposition party after the DPJ was Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no Kai) at 6%, followed by the Japanese Communist Party at 3%. A total of only 20% said they would vote for one of the opposition parties, making for a large gap with the LDP. A full 29% of pollees said they “have not decided yet” while 12% said they “cannot say or don’t know.”

 

 The January 2013 Upper House elections were held about one month after the change in government and the second Shinzo Abe cabinet came into office. In that poll, 41% of pollees said they intended to vote for the LDP while 4% said they would cast their vote for the Komeito. These figures for the ruling parties are not much higher than those of the recent poll. Looking at the figures for the opposition parties in 2013, 12% of pollees said they would vote for the Japan Restoration Party, 8% for the DPJ, and 7% for Your Party. In 2013, a total of 33% of pollees said they planned to vote for an opposition party, which is 13 points higher than in the most recent poll. Those saying “have not decided yet” and pollees indicating “cannot say or don’t know” totaled 21%.

 

 Today’s situation also differs from that before the Upper House elections in 2010 in the days of the DPJ administration. As of February [of that year], 33% said that they planned to vote for the DPJ and 20% indicated that they would vote for the LDP, the leading opposition party at that time, followed by 6% voting for the Your Party and 5% for the Komeito. The ruling and opposition parties were more evenly matched at that time than they are today.

 

 It is clear from the recent survey that the opposition parties are not attracting voters who are critical of the current administration. Of those who do not support the cabinet, 21% said that they would vote for the DPJ in the Upper House elections, followed by 8% for Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no Kai) and 7% for the JCP. A total of 51% were undecided. It looks like the focus will be on how well the opposition parties can attract undecided voters in the six months remaining until the House of Councillors elections.

 

 The support rate for the individual political parties in January was as follows: 39% said they supported the LDP and 8% said the DPJ, which is the same as the voting intention figures. Those supporting no political party remained very high at 40%.

 

 46% are against amending the constitution under the Abe administration

 

 The Abe administration plans to press for the necessity of amending the Constitution with an eye on the Upper House elections this summer. When asked whether they supported amending the Constitution under the Abe administration, 46% said “no,” exceeding the 34% who said “yes.” Among those who do not support the cabinet, as many as 75% were against constitutional amendment while only 12% were in favor.

 

 Looking at the results by political party support, 55% of those supporting the LDP were in favor of revising the Constitution while 29% were opposed. Turning to supporters of the DPJ, only 11% said they were in favor of amending the Constitution while 78% said they were not.

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