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Low expectations for Abe, but don’t want change, Asahi survey

Even though a majority of respondents in a survey hold low expectations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they prefer stability over an upheaval in the political landscape.


That is one trend emerging from a questionnaire mailed nationwide by The Asahi Shimbun.


The survey was intended to gauge public opinion prior to this summer’s Upper House election.


A combined 41 percent of respondents said they held “high” or “somewhat high” expectations for Abe, while 57 percent said they held “low” or “somewhat low” expectations.


Among respondents who said they had no political party affiliation, a combined 76 percent said they had low expectations for Abe.

But that did not translate into a desire for change in the political world.


When asked what they preferred in politics, 60 percent of respondents said “stability,” while only 34 percent chose “change.”


Even among respondents who said they held low expectations for Abe, 51 percent preferred stability over the 43 percent who wanted change.


Those who held low expectations were asked which political party they supported. Sixty-five percent said they had no party affiliation, while 13 percent said they were supporters of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and 11 percent said they supported the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP).


The results suggest that the opposition camp has been unable to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with Abe.


When asked to what extent they trusted what Abe said, a combined 60 percent said they had “no” or “very little” trust. Among those with no party affiliation, 79 percent said they didn’t trust what Abe said.


The respondents were generally cautious about the extended period during which the LDP has dominated both chambers of the Diet, with 80 percent of respondents saying the situation was not good.


At the same time, the respondents did not want to see repeated changes in government, with only 40 percent saying they welcomed such a development, and 53 percent saying otherwise.


Respondents were also asked which party they would vote for in the proportional representation constituency if the Upper House election were held now. Forty-three percent said the LDP, while only 17 percent said the CDP.


Even among unaffiliated voters, 25 percent chose the LDP and only 19 percent picked the CDP.


In a survey taken before the 2016 Upper House election, when unaffiliated voters were asked which party they would vote for, 22 percent picked the LDP and 28 percent chose what was then the leading opposition party.


Questionnaires were mailed from early March and collected until mid-April. Valid responses were obtained from 2,043 voters.


The poll also showed that respondents who mainly get their news through the Internet or social networking services tended to be more right-leaning.


When asked what media sources they relied on for news, 88 percent cited television and 65 percent said newspapers. Fifty-one percent cited Internet news sites, 18 percent said radio, 13 percent said magazines and 12 percent said SNS sites.


The responses of those who said they only used the Internet and SNS for news were recalculated. Those respondents accounted for 5 percent of the total.


The Internet-only respondents had a higher support rate for the Abe Cabinet compared with the overall results and were more in favor of amending the Constitution. Those respondents were also much more likely to vote for the LDP in the Upper House proportional representation constituency.

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