The nationwide telephone-based public opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News on Aug. 14–16 probed views on the Cabinet. Looking at the results by age group, only 30.1% of respondents in their 30s or under (young age group) reported that they support the Cabinet, the lowest ever for the Suga Cabinet since its launch last September. This represents a precipitous drop of 11.6 percentage points from the previous poll taken in July. This is lower than the 34.9% backing among those in their 60s and over (elderly age group) and roughly equivalent to the 29.6% support among those in their 40s and 50s (middle-aged group). These findings are thought to reflect the delay in the vaccine rollout, which prioritized the elderly, and the prolongation of the lifestyle restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
The young age group has been considered the Liberal Democratic Party’s leading support group since the dawn of the second Abe administration [in December 2012]. During the first two months of the Suga administration, the young were firmly behind the prime minister with support among this age group at the 60%–70% level. In December 2020, support dropped to 49.5% as the nation was hit by a “third wave” of COVID-19. Support among this age group continued at the 40%–50% after that, remaining higher than the overall Cabinet support rate.
In the August poll, however, support among the young dropped below the overall Cabinet support rate (31.8%). Support among young women was 22.7%, markedly lower than that among young men (37.2%).
Cabinet disapproval among the young age group was 46.1%, a full 9.7 points higher than that among the middle-aged and 3.3 points higher than that among the elderly. Another 23.8% of respondents in the young age group said they “don’t know” if they support the Cabinet or did not answer the question.
74% of men and 85% of women are worried about policy to secure COVID hospital beds
The nationwide public opinion poll also revealed that women are more anxious than men about the government’s policy for securing hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. A plurality of 79.9% of all respondents said they are concerned about the restriction of hospital admittance for COVID patients. Women outdistanced men in this category, 85.4% to 74.0%. Turning to ruling party supporters, a high 67.9% of LDP supporters and 81.0% of Komeito supporters said they are concerned. The government’s handling of COVID-19 has not won the support of even ruling party supporters.
By age group, 74.1% of those in their 30s or under, 80.9% of those in their 40s or 50s, and 83.2% of those in their 60s or over said they are worried. By occupation, 90.4% of full-time homemakers and 86.7% of contract workers said they are concerned.
Some 69.1% of young respondents, 78.1% of middle-aged pollees, and 77.9% of elderly respondents said the government’s rollout of vaccines is slow.
Among LDP supporters, those disapproving of the government’s overall handling of COVID outdistanced those who approve of the government’s efforts, 51.5% to 43.7%. Even among Komeito supporters, 63.7% gave the government poor marks for its overall response to the pandemic. Turning to opposition party supporters, 91.5% of Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and 87.2% of Japanese Communist Party supporters said they disapprove of the government’s handling of the health crisis.