The Jiji Press poll is the first to show a drop of the support for the Cabinet falling below the usually lethal 20% line, fulfilling a tentative prophecy I made a week ago. Nearly two thirds of those polled (64%) said they disapproved of the Cabinet, a seven point rise from last month's poll.
In terms of which party the voters say they support, 17% said the Democratic Party of Japan, 13% said the Liberal Democratic Party, with the other smaller parties all polling at 4% or below.
As to which party the voters say they say will cast their vote for in the proportional vote in this summer's House of Councillors election, 18% said they were voting for the LDP and only 17% said the DPJ - the first time the polls show the DPJ falling below the LDP among likely voters since the takeover of the government by a DPJ-led coalition. Your Party, the default reformist party stands at nearly 8%.
Which party will you vote for in the proportional voting in the House of Councillors election?
Your Party 7.8%
New Komeito 4.8%
While the numbers are very bad for both Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio and the DPJ, not much will happen in response. The political markets have already largely factored in a drop in the PM's popularity below 20% as a result of his missing his self-imposed end-of-May deadline for a deal on the MCAS Futenma-to-Henoko transfer. The opposition may splash out with a no confidence motion in the House of Representatives. However, the motion will go precisely nowhere given the huge majority of seats the DPJ holds in that chamber.
With no one except perhaps Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Haraguchi Kazuhiro chomping at the bit to become prime minister, the chances of an internal move to replace Hatoyama are exceedingly small. We are less than one month away from the end of the regular Diet session and probably less two months away from a House of Councillors election (the most likely date for an election is July 11, with July 25 a close second). No DPJ member in his or her right mind wants to have the PM resign, a party election to replace him, the selection of a new Cabinet, an attempt to salvage bills from the regular session and then a campaign -- all in two months.