By Kimijima Hiroshi, staff writer
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s strong showing in the Lower House election was due to the outcome of voting in the proportional representation constituency segment of balloting.
An exit poll conducted by The Asahi Shimbun revealed that an overwhelming percentage of those identifying themselves as LDP supporters cast ballots for the party in the proportional representation constituency. But the party also obtained a substantial ratio of votes from those with no clear party affiliation.
Respondents in the exit poll were asked which party they normally supported. Forty-one percent said the LDP, compared with 17 percent who cited the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
Fifteen percent of respondents said they either were not affiliated with any party or were not sure even if they supported any party.
The exit poll showed that 77 percent of LDP supporters voted for the party in the proportional representation constituency.
In the 2017 Lower House election, the figure cited by those who said they were LDP supporters came to 38 percent, with 71 percent voting for the LDP in the proportional representation constituency segment of the vote.
This election is the first for the LDP with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the helm. He barely took office a month ago after being elected by the party to replace unpopular leader Yoshihide Suga.
Not only did the percentage of LDP supporters increase, but there was also a higher percentage casting ballots for the LDP in the proportional representation constituency segment.
Among unaffiliated voters, 21 percent cast ballots for the CDP in the proportional representation constituency, while 19 percent voted for the LDP. The figure for Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) was 18 percent and 8 percent each for the Democratic Party for the People and the Japanese Communist Party and 7 percent for Reiwa Shinsengumi.
Unaffiliated voters frequently switched from party to party when voting in the proportional representation constituency in past elections.
In the 2012 Lower House election when the LDP wrested back control of government from the then Democratic Party of Japan, Ishin gained the largest percentage of votes from unaffiliated voters at 28 percent, while the LDP only got 19 percent.
Two years later, the LDP and Ishin each collected 22 percent of the ballots cast by unaffiliated voters, while the DPJ got 20 percent.
In the 2017 Lower House election, the CDP ended up with the largest share of unaffiliated voters at 29 percent.
In the latest election, the LDP got 19 percent of the ballots cast by unaffiliated voters compared with 21 percent four years ago. The CDP also saw a decline from the 29 percent previously to only 21 percent this time around.
In this election, Ishin and Reiwa saw their votes among unaffiliated voters increase from the poll held four years ago.
The ruling coalition has consistently gained about 30 percent of the unaffiliated voters’ ballots in the proportional representation constituency since 2014.
But the major opposition parties have not fared so well, mainly because of breakups and new parties formed among them.