Earlier this morning I only had fragmentary results from the January 10-11 Kyodo telephone poll. Through the good offices of the Tokyo Shimbun, I have now have the full report. It contains very, very bad news for the Liberal Democratic Party's dream of clawing and scratching its way back into the public's good graces and engineering an electoral miracle in this year's House of Councillors election.
[Most recent figures in bold. Previous poll in (). All numbers are percentages]
Do you support the Hatoyama Cabinet?
Support 50.8 (47.2)
Do not support 33.2 (38.1)
Don't know 16.0 (14.7)
Which political party do you support?
DPJ 38.7 (36.1)
LDP 17.3 (23.7)
New Komeito 3.4 (1.9)
Socialists 3.0 (1.8)
Communists 2.9 (1.3)
Everybody’s Party 2.7 (1.7)
People’s New Party 0.1 (1.1)
No particular party 30.6 (30.5)
When you have the former closest advisors of your opponent's leaders under indictment for fraud (and the Tokyo prosecutor's office still combing through your opponents' books looking for financial irregularities), a low-level verbal war ongoing between your opponents and U.S. government, and the leader of your opponents being relentlessly assailed for his purported vacillation and weakness, you really cannot excuse a 6.4% drop in your support ratings.
The LDP's sub-18% finish in all the polls released so far indicates that it remains a deeply unpopular political entity. Party members have considered a number of ways of saving their political skins: change the party's name, allow the party to split up into politically coherent fragments, elect a new party secretary-general to replace Tanigaki Sadakazu. These movements have heretofore resulted in a lot of media buzz but little of substance.
With polling numbers like these, however, most every LDP politician up for reelection in July must be at least be considering the option of running in his/her district as an independent.
N.B. - There is a great deal of variation among the results for the various micro-parties. I would be cautious to draw any conclusions regarding the electoral chances of any of them in the House of Councillors election. The >3% support figure for the New Komeito is also a bit of an outlier in terms of polling data, as New Komeito voters tend to hide their numbers until just before an election.
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