ASAHI POLL: Voters mixed on Abe, LDP victory

December 19, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Although voters returned the Liberal Democratic Party to power in the Dec. 16 Lower House election, a large portion of respondents to a poll who welcomed the result also thought the large majority the LDP and its coalition partner now command is "not good."

According to the Asahi Shimbun survey, a majority of respondents, 57 percent, said the shift of power to a government led by the LDP was “good,” while only 16 percent replied it was “not good.”

However, asked what they think about the LDP and its ally, New Komeito, winning 325 seats in the 480-seat Lower House, more than two-thirds of that number, 43 percent said it was "not good,” compared with 35 percent who said it was "good.” The nationwide telephone survey was conducted on Dec. 17-18.

Respondents were asked what they think was the reason for the LDP’s big victory: whether voters expressed support for the LDP’s policies or were disappointed by the performance of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government over the past three years.

An overwhelming majority of 81 percent cited “disappointment of the DPJ government,” while only 7 percent cited “support for the LDP’s policies."

Even among LDP supporters, the ratio was roughly the same: 79 percent versus 13 percent.

Fifty-one percent said they have "expectations” of Shinzo Abe, scheduled to be named prime minister on Dec. 26, exceeding the 42 percent who said they do not.

The future of nuclear energy was a key issue in the election, the first held since last year's Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The LDP is undecided about nuclear energy, only saying it will decide what to do within 10 years.

Forty-six percent said they do not approve of the LDP’s stance, while 37 percent said they approve.

Meanwhile, 53 percent of respondents said they would like to see the DPJ "recover and become a political party that can rival the LDP,” while 38 percent said they do not agree.

In an Asahi Shimbun survey conducted after the 2009 Lower House election, which saw a landslide victory by the DPJ, 69 percent said they thought the switch to the DPJ-centered government was “good,” far above the 10 percent who said it was “not good.”

Fifty-four percent said the DPJ’s victory, in which it won more than 300 seats, was good, while 25 percent said it was not.

Sixty-three percent said they had expectations of Yukio Hatoyama, then the DPJ president who would become prime minister, while 29 percent said they did not.

The 2009 survey asked about the LDP, which was in a similar position as the DPJ after it lost power in the Dec. 16 Lower House election. Seventy-six percent said they wanted the LDP to recover, while 17 percent said they did not want it to.

In the latest survey, voters were asked to choose a policy they were most interested in from four options. The largest group, 35 percent, picked “economic conditions and employment,” followed by “the consumption tax and social security,” selected by 30 percent.

Seventeen percent cited “energy issues, including nuclear power generation,” while 12 percent chose “constitutional revisions and foreign and national security policies.”

As for support rates for political parties, 31 percent said they support the LDP, up from 19 percent in a previous survey on Dec. 8-9. That was followed by the DPJ at 11 percent, down from 13 percent, and the Japan Restoration Party at 9 percent, up from 5 percent.

The LDP's support rate exceeded 30 percent for the first time since November 2008.

The Asahi Shimbun contacted 1,988 voters nationwide for the random telephone survey and received valid responses from 1,105, or 56 percent.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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