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UPDATED: Japanese Elections: Opposition Gains in Poll

Monday, August 29, 2005 Posted: 11:22 AM JST

Japan's opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) took points from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) an Asahi Shimbun poll showed yesterday. The results showed that 24 percent of respondents would vote for the LDP under the proportional representation system. Two weeks ago a similar poll showed that 31 percent supported the LDP.

Minshuto's popularity has seesawed the past few weeks. From an initial 17 percent it sagged to 14 percent, and then to 13 percent. In the latest poll it rose back to 16 percent. In the latest poll, 13 percent of respondents in urban areas plan to vote for Minshuto, up from 9 percent previously.

Asahi called the results, "LDP's worst showing in four Asahi surveys since the election was called on Aug. 8." According to the newspaper it "shows the gap in support narrowing between the two parties."

Initially Koizumi's popularity appeared to rise in media polls after he disbanded the lower house. It will be interesting to see what polls by other media organizations will show over the next few days.

The upcoming elections are focused on reform of Japan's economy, especially postal reform. But a decreasing number of voters believe postal reform is an important factor. Just after the election, 58 percent considered it important. In the latest poll 52 percent did.

The latest poll was conducted on August 25 and 26. It was based on 1,010 responses.


The Yomiuri reports today that support for the LDP is surging:

Fifty percent of pollees indicated they favored the LDP, far higher than the second-best figure of 20 percent for the major opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan.

Undecided voters made up the third-biggest group of pollees, with 17 percent of Internet users polled saying they did not favor any particular party.

The Yomiuri Shimbun surveyed 1,000 Internet users nationwide.

The Japan Times however reports that a Kyodo poll shows the gap between the LDP and its main rival is closing.

The Liberal Democratic Party's lead in voter support over the Democratic Party of Japan is diminishing in the runup to the Sept. 11 election, and the approval rate for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Cabinet has edged down, according to a Kyodo News tracking poll taken over the weekend.

Asked which party they would vote for in the proportional representation sector, 29.7 percent of the respondents chose the LDP, down from 31.5 percent in the previous poll. Those supporting the DPJ rose by 3.1 points to 18.3 percent.

In single-seat districts, support for the LDP remains almost the same at 30.6 percent, up 0.3 point, but backing for the DPJ leaped from 12.2 percent to 17.5 percent.

What is really interesting, is that the Kyodo poll found slipping interest in postal reform.

Some 42.2 percent see pensions and medical services as the main issue of concern. This shot up by 6.4 points from a previous poll one week ago. Postal privatization as main issue fell to 20.6 percent from 22.8 percent.

Kyodo polled 1,250 respondents.

Guess which parties the Asahi and the Yomiuri newspapers support...

Keywords: national_news

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