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52% back Kono for next LDP president, Cabinet support rate rebounds to 42%, Sankei-FNN joint public opinion poll

The joint public opinion poll conducted by the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) on Sept. 18–19 probed views on the four politicians running in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election, which will select Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s successor. Asked who would be appropriate to serve as the next LDP president, 52.6% said vaccine czar Kono Taro, giving him the top ranking by a margin. Meanwhile, 15.2% said former LDP policy chief Kishida Fumio would make a good president, 11.6% selected former Interior Minister Takaichi Sanae, and 6.4% said Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda Seiko.


Asked what quality is most needed in the next prime minister, 35,4% said leadership, followed by good policies (20.2%), ability to explain issues to the people (19.5%), solid track record (9.1%), international mindedness (8.5%), and personal character (5.9%).


Turning to policies (multiple responses permitted), 59.2% of respondents said that they most wanted to see the next prime minister address COVID countermeasures. This was followed by the economy and jobs (40.2%); pensions, medical care, and nursing care (27.8%); childrearing support and education (19.3%); diplomacy and security (18.1%); administrative reform and fiscal reconstruction (15.2%); the environment and energy policy (7.0%); and constitutional amendment (5.8%).


Some 78.9% said that it was appropriate for Prime Minister Suga to step down without running in the LDP presidential election, exceeding the 15.8% who said that it was inappropriate.


Some 62.5% of pollees said that they approve of the Suga Cabinet’s performance over the past year or so while 36.2% said they did not.


Approval of the Cabinet led by Suga Yoshihide rose 10.2 percentage points from the previous survey (conducted on Aug. 21–22) to reach 42.3%. Disapproval dropped by 9.1 points to reach 52.2%.


[Polling methodology: A total of 1,116 men and women, aged 18 and over, across the nation were surveyed. The nation was divided into 11 blocs corresponding to the Lower House proportional representation districts. The survey was conducted by placing telephone calls on a random digit dialing (RDD) basis until the calculated number of responses obtained from each bloc corresponded to that bloc’s relative population. A weighted adjustment was then performed for such variables as gender and age. Calls were placed to both landline and mobile numbers in the ratio of 4:6. The following follow-up question was posed to respondents who gave an unclear answer to the question about Cabinet support: “Which is closer to your view?” The responses to the follow-up questions were added to the responses to the initial question.]  


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