(Mainichi: March 8, 2016 – p. 5)
In a nationwide public opinion poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun (on Mar. 5–6), 33% of respondents said that if they were to cast their vote now, they would vote for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the proportional representation segment of this summer’s Upper House elections. The LDP was the most frequently selected political party although the figure represents a 3 point drop from the previous poll taken on Jan. 30–31. At the same time, 14% of pollees said they would vote for the new party to be formed in March through merger of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP).
Other main political parties that pollees intended to vote for included the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) at 7%, Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no Kai) at 5%, and Komeito at 4%. These results represent no change from the previous poll. The figure for the new party to be formed through the DPJ-JIP merger is slightly higher than the total of the figures in the January poll for the DPJ (10%) and JIP (2%). Independents indicated virtually equal intent to vote for the LDP (15%) and the new party (14%). A full 62% of respondents said that they “do not have high expectations” for the new party while only 26% said that they “have high expectations.”
The JCP plans to cooperate with other opposition parties in the upcoming Upper House elections by withdrawing its candidates in some single-member electoral districts. A full 44% of pollees said that they thought the opposition parties “should field unified candidates in the Upper House elections” whenever possible while 38% said that was “not necessary.” However, 70% of DPJ supporters and 70% of JCP supporters said that “unified candidates should be fielded.”
Although a direct comparison cannot be made, the October 2015 poll found that respondents who said that the opposition parties, including the JCP, “do not need to engage in election cooperation” (44%) exceeded those who indicated that the parties “should engage in election cooperation” (38%).
There is talk among the ruling and opposition parties that there will be dual elections and the Lower House elections will be held on the same day as the Upper House elections. When respondents were asked when they thought the next Lower House elections should be held, “next year or later” was the most frequent response at 30%, followed by “same day as the Upper House elections” at 26% and “within the year but not on the same day as the Upper House elections” at 24%.