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OPINION POLLS

53% in favor of Abe’s call to add SDF to Article 9, Yomiuri poll

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a nationwide public opinion poll on May 12–14 in which it probed views on constitutional amendment. As president of the Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister Abe recently unveiled a proposal to add a clause to Article 9 of the Constitution to specify the legitimacy of the SDF while leaving untouched the two current paragraphs of Article 9, which stipulate the renunciation of war. The Yomiuri poll put support for Prime Minister Abe’s idea at 53% and opposition at 35%. A plurality of 47% endorsed the premier’s proposal on implementing the revision in 2020, while 38% were opposed to it.

 

By political party supported, over 70% of LDP supporters were in favor of adding to Article 9 provisions making explicit the existence of the SDF. Slightly less than 20% of Democratic Party supporters were in favor, while slightly over 70% were opposed to the addition. Independents were split, with 41% in favor and 44% opposed. While support outnumbered nonsupport in all age brackets, support was in the 40% range among respondents in their 60s, 70s, and above.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to have a revised Constitution take effect in 2020. Some 65% of LDP supporters were in favor of this. Among independents, however, 47% were opposed, exceeding the 35% who were in favor.

 

Meanwhile, 76% of pollees said they have high hopes that the Diet’s Commissions on the Constitution will actively engage in deliberations with an eye toward constitutional amendment. This marks a rise from the 67% who gave that response to the same question in a poll conducted in November of last year.

 

Approval for the Abe cabinet stood at 61%, essentially unchanged from the 60% found in the previous poll (April 14–16). Nonsupport was 28% (previous poll: 29%). Approval for the Liberal Democratic Party was at 43%, while that for the main opposition Democratic Party at 6%.

 

[Polling methodology: The nationwide survey was conducted May 12–14 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis and targeted voters age 18 or over with calls placed to landline and mobile phone numbers. Valid responses were received from a total of 1,104 persons, including 562 persons (out of the 935 households with one or more eligible voters) for landline numbers and 542 persons (out of the 1,188 persons who answered) for mobile numbers. The valid response rates were 60% for landline numbers and 46% for mobile numbers.]

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