In advance of the Nago mayoral election set for Feb. 4, the Asahi Shimbun and Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (QAB) conducted a joint opinion poll on Jan. 28–29 with an eye to probing local voters’ views on base issues and other matters. According to the survey, 63% of respondents said they are opposed to the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to Nago City’s Henoko district, easily surpassing the 20% who thought otherwise. Deep-rooted opposition remains among voters.
In the poll conducted around the time of the previous mayoral election four years ago, 64% said they were opposed to the relocation and 19% said they were in favor. There appears to be no major change in sentiment on this issue, although no direct comparison can be made because the voting age was “20 and over” at the time of the previous poll. The recent poll findings also show a tendency for voters opposed to the relocation to support Mayor Susumu Inamine (72), who is opposed to the relocation, and those in favor of the relocation to support former Nago municipal assembly member Taketoyo Toguchi (56), who takes the position of in effect allowing the relocation.
The poll asked respondents what they will place the greatest priority on in deciding how to vote in the upcoming election. Pollees were given a choice of four options and asked to select one. Some 41% said “relocation of MCAS Futenma” while almost the same percentage said “regional development and promotion measures” (39%). Meanwhile, 8% said “[candidate’s] experience and past record,” and 5% said “political party or group I support.” In the previous poll taken four years ago, the responses to the equivalent question were as follows: “relocation of MCAS Futenma,” 56%; “regional development and promotion measures,” 23%. This shows that more people are placing priority on regional promotion this time. The majority of those saying “Futenma relocation” said they will vote for Inamine while the majority of those who said “regional development and promotion measures” said they will vote for Toguchi.
[Polling methodology for the Asahi Shimbun-QAB joint opinion poll of Nago City voters: The survey was conducted on Jan. 28–29 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis of voters in Nago City with telephone calls placed by pollsters to landline numbers. Valid responses were received from 673 persons (out of 1,439 households found to have one or more eligible voters). The valid response rate was 47%.]