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Interpreting public opinion polls and cabinet support rates

  • November 3, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

A public opinion poll is a statistical investigation into the views and attitudes of the people in a given society. A poll where 1,000 or more responses are received is considered statistically significant. Because not all voters are polled, however, there is a margin of error that must be taken into consideration. A month-on-month increase or decrease of 2 percentage points or less in the cabinet support rate is considered within the range of error, and the support rate is often deemed unchanged. (Abridged)



Comparison of polling methodologies






Calls are placed to randomly generated telephone numbers.

Questionnaires are sent by post to people randomly selected from the basic register of residents or other similar register.

Pollsters visit pollees at home.


Survey can be conducted in short period of time.

Survey can have a large number of questions.

Questions are misunderstood less often because pollsters can explain the questions to pollees in person.



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