To probe views on the Sept. 30 Okinawa gubernatorial election being held to fill the vacancy that arose with the death of Governor Takeshi Onaga, Kyodo News conducted a telephone-based opinion poll on Sept. 22–23 and considered the findings of its news-gathering activities. Former Lower House representative Denny Tamaki (58) and former Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima (54; backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Komeito, Nippon Ishin, and Party of Hope) are neck and neck in a fierce race. Some 20% of pollees said, however, that they “have not decided” who they will vote for and so there is a chance that the situation will change.
Both candidates are independent newcomers to the gubernatorial race.
Tamaki has secured the backing of almost all supporters of the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party and has the backing of 80% of the supporters of a regional political party known as the Okinawa Social Mass Party. He has also won favor among almost 60% of independents.
Sakima has secured the backing of over 70% of LDP supporters. His support among Komeito backers, however, is in the 50% range, as some have shifted to Tamaki.
Asked what the key issue in the election is, over 50% said the return of [land currently used by] MCAS Futenma and the relocation of the air station. Over 60% said they are either “opposed” or “generally opposed” to the relocation to Henoko, while less than 30% said they are either “in favor” or “generally in favor.”
The majority said that they “do not support” or “generally do not support” the government’s position of promoting the relocation regardless of the results of the election. Slightly less than 80% of those who said that they voted for Governor Onaga in the previous election said that they will vote for Tamaki, while slightly over 10% said that they will cast their ballot for Sakima.
The outlook in the election is tough for former Naha City Assembly Member Hatsumi Toguchi (83) and former company worker Shun Kaneshima (40), who are also both independent newcomers.
Polling methodology: The survey was conducted on Sept. 22–23 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis of voters in Okinawa Prefecture. Valid responses were received from 1,017 persons (out of 1,465 households found to have one or more eligible voters).