Only 17 percent of voters want the Diet to pass tax hike legislation during the current session, a goal on which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has staked his political life, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Seventy-two percent said the government should not stick to Noda’s plan to enact the legislation before the current Diet session ends on June 21.
Even voters who support the consumption tax hike legislation are sharply divided over the deadline set by Noda, with 48 percent of them supporting passage during the current session, and 44 percent negative toward the idea.
The nationwide telephone survey was conducted on June 4 and 5 after Noda reshuffled his Cabinet to win support for the consumption tax hike legislation from the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
The Asahi Shimbun contacted 1,953 voters at random and received 1,063 valid responses, or 54 percent.
Voters are also divided over Noda’s plan to hold discussions with the LDP to amend the tax legislation. LDP support is crucial for the prime minister’s tax-hike plan because a large segment of Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan opposes tax increases.
Forty-one percent of voters support the DPJ-LDP discussions on the amendments, while 42 percent are opposed, according to the survey.
Those who back the amendment talks outnumber opponents among voters who support either of the two parties. The survey showed that 62 percent of DPJ supporters and 51 percent of LDP supporters are in favor of the amendment talks, while 28 percent of DPJ supporters and 37 percent of LDP supporters are opposed.
Among unaffiliated voters, 32 percent back the amendment talks, while 45 percent are opposed.
Thirty-two percent of all voters support a consumption tax hike, down from 39 percent in the previous survey in May, while 56 percent are opposed, up from 51 percent.
The support rate is the lowest in six Asahi Shimbun surveys since January, when the Noda Cabinet decided to raise the consumption tax rate from the current 5 percent to 8 percent in April 2014 and 10 percent in October 2015.
The wording in the surveys for questions on support for the tax hike legislation changed slightly after the bills were submitted to the Diet in March.
According to the latest survey, the Noda Cabinet’s support rate was 27 percent, up slightly from 26 percent in the May survey, while the non-support rate was 51 percent, down from 53 percent.
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