By Hiroshi Horie, senior staff writer
In the election for a House of Councillors seat in the prefectural constituency of Hiroshima, 76% of voters who said they focused on “money-related scandals” in deciding how to vote reported that they cast their ballots for opposition candidate Haruko Miyaguchi, it was found in the Asahi Shimbun exit poll conducted on April 25.
Asked what issue they prioritized in deciding how to vote, 31% of voters in the Hiroshima election said the “LDP politics and money scandals,” making it the focal issue of the election. In the Upper House by-election in the Nagano constituency and the Lower House by-election for the No. 2 single-seat district in Hokkaido, more voters prioritized COVID-19 countermeasures than the money and politics scandals. Over half of the ballots cast by voters prioritizing COVID-19 measures voted for Kenko Matsuki in the Hokkaido election, and COVID-centric voters in the Nagano by-election were split between Jiro Hata (CDPJ) and LDP Yutaka Komatsu.
In all three elections, many voters prioritizing “money and politics” scandals cast their ballots for the opposition candidate. The LDP candidates also were unable to gain traction among voters who prioritized COVID-19 measures. The two issues heavily plagued the LDP candidates, resulting in their defeat.
A full 95% of CDPJ supporters and 68% of independents cast their vote for CDPJ-backed Haruko Miyaguchi in the Hiroshima election. Even among LDP supporters, 21% voted for Miyaguchi. Some 75% of LDP backers voted for LDP candidate Hidenori Nishita, but he earned the vote of only 20% of independents. LDP backers made up 48% of voters in the 2019 Upper House election. In the recent poll, however, they make up only 44%. The percentage of independents has increased substantially from 15% in 2019 to 26% today.
In the 2019 Upper House election in which the LDP fielded two candidates, 85% voted for Anri Kawai and Kensei Mizote. This time, the decrease in the number of LDP supporters as a percentage of all voters and the decrease in the percentage of votes cast for LDP candidates overlapped. This suggests that the vote-buying scandal impacted LDP supporters.
In the Nagano Upper House race, 95% of CDPJ supporters and 63% of independents voted for Jiro Hata. Meanwhile 80% of LDP supporters and 34% of independents voted for Komatsu.
In the Hokkaido election, 88% of CDPJ supporters and 41% of independents cast their ballots for Matsuki. The LDP did not field a candidate. Some 21% of LDP backers voted for Matsuki.
The number of polling sites and valid responses for the three exit polls were as follows:
Hokkaido: 30 polling sites; 1,380 valid responses.
Nagano: 60 polling sites; 2,762 valid responses.
Hiroshima: 60 polling sites; 2,794 valid responses.