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49% back Abe for next LDP president, while 39% back Ishiba, Sankei-FNN poll

The nationwide public opinion poll jointly conducted by the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) on Sept. 15–16 probed views on the Sept. 20 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election. Some 49.6% of pollees said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (LDP president) would be appropriate to serve as the next LDP president, exceeding by 10 percentage points former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, who was favored by 39.6%. There was a wider gap between the two candidates among LDP supporters, where 71.4% backed Abe and 23.9% selected Ishiba.


Support for the Abe cabinet was 49.3%, up 3.7 points from the previous poll (conducted on Aug. 25–26). This is the second consecutive month that backing for Abe has risen and the first time that support has been at a high level since the February poll (51.0%). Nonsupport declined by 2.6 points from the previous poll to reach 41.8%.


Prime Minister Abe has expressed the intent to aim to have the LDP submit its constitutional amendment proposal to the autumn extraordinary Diet session. Some 51.1% of respondents said they are opposed, exceeding the 38.8% who said they are in favor of it. Among LDP supporters, however, those in favor exceeded those opposed, 57.5% to 30.8%.


Asked which of the constitutional amendments debated in the party presidential election should be given the highest priority, 47.0% said “the addition of a clause on government responses to emergency situations,” making it the most frequently given response. Some 26.9% said “the amendment of Article 9,” and 19.1% said “the elimination of Upper House electoral districts comprising multiple prefectures.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Sept. 12 that Japan and Russia “form a peace treaty without preconditions by the end of the year.” Some 81.0% said that the Japanese government should adhere to the principle it has adopted thus far, namely, to form a peace treaty after resolving the matter of the attribution of the four Northern Islands.


A plurality of 66.2% of pollees said that they approve of the government’s handling of the torrential rains in western Japan and the Hokkaido earthquake.


Regarding the government plan to raise the consumption tax to 10% in October next year, a total of over 60% of respondents said they accept the tax hike, with 29. 4% saying “the consumption tax should be raised as scheduled if a portion will go to childrearing support and free education,” 21.4% saying “priority should be placed on rebuilding public finances,” and 12.0% saying “the funds should be used for other policies.” Meanwhile, 13.3% wanted the consumption tax hike to be postponed, and 22.5% said they are opposed to raising the consumption tax rate.


[Polling methodology: The survey was conducted until the calculated number of responses was obtained by placing telephone calls on a random digit dialing (RDD) basis adjusted to the gender and age composition of each survey area. A total of 1,000 men and women, aged 18 and over, across the nation were surveyed. The survey was conducted on Sept. 15–16, 2018.]


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