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Young age groups are “moving away from Abe,” Yomiuri poll

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun’s nationwide public opinion poll conducted on March 31–April 1, the Abe cabinet support rate dropped for the second consecutive month to reach 42%. The support rate kept to the 40% range and did not get near the 36% found in the July 2017 poll when backing marked its nadir since the launch of the second Abe cabinet. In the past, the young age groups have strongly supported Abe, but now even this segment is “moving away from Abe.”


Pollees say they don’t support cabinet because “PM is untrustworthy”


Looking at the recent poll’s cabinet support rate by the three age groups of 18–39, 40–59, and 60 and over, the trend of “the younger the age group, the higher the support rate” continued as in the previous polls. Some 49% of pollees age 18 to 39, 41% of those age 40 to 59, and 38% of those age 60 and over support Abe. Among 18- to 39-year-olds, the cabinet support rate is higher than the nonsupport rate (40%).


Compared with the Feb. 10–11 poll, which was taken before it was revealed that the Finance Ministry had tampered with official documents related to the sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, however, backing among those age 18 to 39 has decreased by 17 percentage points and backing among those age 40 to 59 has declined by 13 points, both outdistancing the drop among those age 60 and over (8 points). Further, cabinet support among those aged 18 to 29 went from about 70% in the February poll to around 50% in the recent one.


In the March 9–11 poll taken right after former National Tax Agency Commissioner Nobuhisa Sagawa resigned, support among those age 60 and over dropped by 9 points from the February poll while support among 18- to 39-year-olds declined by 3 points and backing among those age 40 to 59 decreased by 4 points. In the recent poll taken three weeks after that, support among those age 60 and over remained flat from the previous poll while that among 18- to 39-year-olds and among 40- to 59-year-olds dropped by 14 and 9 points, respectively. The trend to move away from Abe is spreading.


Women and independents have traditionally supported Abe in low numbers, but in the recent poll backing dropped further. Comparing the recent poll with the February one, support among women decreased by 16 points to 33% while that among independents declined by 12 points to 17%.


Another source of concern for the Abe cabinet is the fact that 54% of nonsupporters say they do not back the cabinet because “the prime minister is untrustworthy.” This is the highest percentage in the history of the second Abe cabinet.


In the July 24–26, 2015 poll taken immediately after the Lower House passed the security legislation, which was fiercely opposed by the opposition parties, nonsupport exceeded support 49% to 43%. Some 36% of nonsupporters said they did not back the cabinet because the “prime minister is untrustworthy” while 30% gave the reason of “nothing can be expected of the cabinet’s policy measures.”


In June last year when the support rate plummeted due to the Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution scandals, however, cabinet nonsupporters saying “the prime minister is untrustworthy” skyrocketed to around 50%. The rate has remained in the 40% and 50% range since then as well, while other reasons for nonsupport are at slightly over 20% at most.


[Polling methodology: The nationwide survey was conducted on March 31–April 1 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis and targeted voters aged 18 or over with calls placed to landline and mobile phone numbers. Valid responses were received from a total of 1,111 persons, including 540 persons (out of the 921 households with one or more eligible voters) for landline numbers and 571 persons (out of the 1,160 persons who answered) for mobile numbers. The valid response rates were 59% for landline numbers and 49% for mobile numbers.]

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