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LDP may struggle to win single-party majority in general election, Yomiuri survey

The Yomiuri Shimbun has taken a nationwide survey to gauge voter sentiment in the early stages of campaigning for the upcoming House of Representatives election.


According to the poll, as well as information obtained by Yomiuri bureaus across the nation, the Liberal Democratic Party is likely to lose seats and struggle to maintain a single-party majority in the Oct. 31 election. Meanwhile, the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan could secure more than the 110 seats it previously held in the lower house, while Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) is expected to gain significantly more seats, mainly in Osaka constituencies.


The LDP previously held 276 seats in the chamber — with 233 constituting a majority out of 465 seats—, but it has only about 120 candidates who appear to have the upper hand in single-seat constituencies. More than 40 candidates backed by the ruling party are struggling against a single candidate jointly supported by opposition parties.


The survey suggests that many constituencies in metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo, Osaka and Aichi, are likely to see close races, while the LDP could dominate seats in constituencies in Toyama, Shimane, Yamaguchi and Kochi prefectures, where the party has a strong support base.


Under the proportional representation system, the LDP appears to be on track to win nearly 70 seats, on par with the previous lower house election in 2017, according to the survey.


Komeito, the LDP’s ruling coalition junior partner, has fielded nine candidates in single-seat constituencies, and most of them are performing strongly. In the proportional representation system, Komeito is expected to secure more than the 21 seats it won in the 2017 general election.


Together, the LDP and Komeito are looking at a controlling majority of 261 seats in the 465-seat chamber. Securing a controlling majority is regarded as a barometer for stable management of Diet affairs, as it allows the ruling bloc to chair all 17 standing committees in the lower house and comprise the majority of members in all the committees.


Of 214 candidates backed by the CDPJ in single-seat constituencies, about 30 are believed to have an advantage. Most are candidates that the party arranged to support jointly with four other opposition parties: the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party for the People, Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Social Democratic Party. Nearly 60 candidates with support from the CDPJ are in a close battle for Diet seats.


In the proportional representation system, the CDPJ is likely to secure more than 40 seats, raising the possibility that its share of the seats in the lower house could increase by 20 from the 110 it previously held.


Regarding the JCP, one of its candidates is seen leading in a single-seat constituency, and the party could win more than 15 seats under the proportional representation system, surpassing the 12 seats it had before.


Ishin is also poised to add more seats by winning nearly half of the 19 constituencies in its stronghold of Osaka Prefecture, and it is likely to increase its seats significantly from eight under the proportional representation system. The survey indicates the party is on track to nearly triple the number of its lower house seats from the 11 it held before.


In contrast, the DPFP is struggling in most of the 21 constituencies it has fielded candidates in. The focus will be on whether the party can maintain the eight seats it previously held.


Reiwa Shinsengumi could secure more than one seat under the proportional representation system, while the SDP has seen its one candidate competing well in a single-seat constituency.


The survey was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by telephone, and 186,863 people responded. As a certain number of the respondents did not name a candidate or party they would vote for in single-seat constituencies and the proportional representation system, the situation could change toward the end of the election campaign.


A total of 1,051 people are running in the upcoming lower house election. In single-seat constituencies, 857 candidates are vying for 289 seats, while 194 candidates — excluding those who are also running in a single-seat constituency — are competing for 176 seats in 11 blocs under the proportional representation system.

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