The Asahi Shimbun conducted a poll of LDP Diet members to probe their voting preferences in the party presidential election (scheduled for Sept. 20). Some 337 of the LDP’s 405 parliamentarians said they will vote for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (63), who will be seeking a third consecutive term as president. It thus looks like Abe is set to take more than 80% of the Diet member votes. Only 50 Diet members said they plan to cast their ballot for former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba (61).
A total of 810 votes will be cast in the LDP presidential election: 405 by LDP Diet members who each has the right to cast one vote in the election, and 405 by rank-and-file members. Asahi directly asked each Upper and Lower House member who they will support in the party election, excluding those parliamentarians who have said at press conferences or on Twitter which candidate they back. A total of 387 of the 405 members named the candidate they will support, while 12 said that they are undecided or did not state a preference. The remaining six LDP Diet members were unable to be contacted directly.
Of the five LDP factions that support Abe, including the Hosoda (94 members), Aso (59), Kishida (48), Nikai (44), and Ishihara (12) factions, only one member said that they will support Ishiba in the presidential race. All 20 members of the Ishiba faction said they will back their faction leader.
The only group that had a split in its voting preferences was the Takeshita faction (55), which has decided to leave the decision up to the discretion of individual faction members. Some 27 of the 34 Takeshita faction members in the Lower House said they will back Abe while 6 said they will vote for Ishiba. Takeshita faction members in the Upper House decided as a group to back Ishiba, and 16 of the 21 members said they will vote for Ishiba while three selected Abe.
Of those LDP parliamentarians that are not affiliated with a faction (73), 55 said they will back Abe while 7 said they will vote for Ishiba. LDP Chief Deputy Secretary-General Shinjiro Koizumi has said that he will decide how he will vote on or after Sept. 14, the day of the candidate debate sponsored by the LDP Youth Division.
To probe voting preferences among rank-and-file members, the Asahi Shimbun also conducted a poll of the 47 prefectural federations of LDP branches. The secretaries-general of 19 of the 21 federations that responded said they will support Abe. Only two prefectures – Ishiba’s home constituency of Tottori and neighboring Shimane Prefectures – said they will support him.
Some 26 prefectural federations either did not respond or said that they “have not decided yet.” Many federations, including Ishikawa Prefectural Federation, said that “the LDP Headquarters has asked the leaders of the prefectural federations not to respond to these kinds of inquiries.”