If given the choice, most voters would pick “none of the above” in the presidential elections of the ruling and main opposition parties, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Shigeru Ishiba, former policy chief of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, was the most “popular” of the expected candidates for the party's leadership race, gaining the approval of 23 percent of the respondents in the survey. That number fell short of the 24 percent who said none of the LDP candidates is fit to run the party.
For the presidential election of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda garnered the most support from 34 percent of the respondents. However, nearly half, or 46 percent, of those surveyed endorsed none of the DPJ candidates listed in the survey.
The survey, conducted nationwide over the phone on Sept. 8 and 9, showed a majority of the public is looking toward a new force for leadership, namely the party led by outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, in the next Lower House election, which must be held by autumn next year. Only LDP members can vote in the party poll, while the DPJ election is limited to members and registered supporters.
Given the current political situation, the winner of the LDP presidential race has a good chance of becoming the nation’s prime minister after the Lower House election.
Ishiba, known for his expertise in national security issues, led the poll in the party’s race, followed by LDP Secretary-General Nobuteru Ishihara, favored by 19 percent, and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at 13 percent.
Incumbent President Sadakazu Tanigaki ranked fourth at only 7 percent, and he announced on Sept. 10 that he would not seek re-election.
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura trailed at 4 percent, followed by Yoshimasa Hayashi, acting LDP policy chief, at 2 percent.
The LDP presidential election officially kicks off on Sept. 14.
For the DPJ’s election, which officially started on Sept. 10, Noda is seen as the heavy favorite.
According to the survey results, the prime minister was followed by former internal affairs minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi at 8 percent, former transport minister Sumio Mabuchi (who did not enter the race) at 2 percent, and former farm ministers Hirotaka Akamatsu and Michihiko Kano, both at 1 percent.
The approval rating for Noda's Cabinet was 25 percent, up slightly from its record low of 22 percent in the previous survey in August. The disapproval rating was 53 percent, down 5 percentage points from August.
The pollees were asked if they wanted Hashimoto’s Osaka Ishin no Kai regional party, which is set to establish a new national party, to win enough seats in the next Lower House election to become an influential force in the Diet.
Fifty percent of the respondents said they hope Hashimoto's party will do so, compared with 36 percent who said they do not.
Those with high hopes for Hashimoto's party were given four options on what Osaka Ishin no Kai should do in terms of tie-ups with other parties following the next Lower House election.
Fifty-four percent chose the option, "There is no need to tie up with any party," followed by 14 percent who suggested an alliance with the LDP. Thirteen percent said Osaka Ishin no Kai should form tie-ups with parties other than the DPJ and the LDP, while 11 percent said the new party should ally itself with the DPJ.
The survey did not include parts of disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture. Valid responses were obtained from 1,006 eligible voters.
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