Posted over at Twisting Flowers is a depressing review of the latest polling data. According to the author's analysis, the gamble of calling the Liberal Democratic Party's bluff on raising the consumption tax to 10% has backfired upon the Democratic Party of Japan, eroding confidence in the Cabinet and reducing the percentage of persons responding favorably when asked about the DPJ.
However, looking at the numbers in the bottom row of the Twisting Flowers charts seems to indicate that it is not yet the hour to be hitting the panic button. The number of undecided voters is still one third of the electorate, a few of whom fled support from supporting the DPJ in the general hysteria being generated in the media over the prospects of a consumption tax increase. Even then, the shift is only of a few percentage points, and not toward any of the opposition parties.
As for the drops in Cabinet ratings -- well, why not? The Diet is in recess; the Cabinet members are all out on the campaign trail-- all, that is, except for the PM himself, who had the annoying responsibility of representing his country at the G8 / G20 summit and sing along with the Hallelujah chorus there of fiscal stringency. Why wouldn't they fall, when it is unclear that the Cabinet is, in fact, doing anything?
Now that The Man is back on Japanese soil, the solution for the DPJ is simple: let the big dog run. Prime Minister Kan Naoto may not have the greatest of lilting cadences but he is damn clear and straight about what he says. He is the new DPJ brand -- the party can do little else but let him roll up and down the length of this land dispensing his serious but self-deprecatory common sense.
The question is not the amount of time left before the election; it is how many hours a day the party can keep the PM talking (he will need a voice coach). The more people hear him, the more they like his party and its ideas.
The PM had to leave Japan at an inconvenient time. It is imperative that in the week that remains that he be out on the streets and in the studios of his homeland, making the case for his government.
Then we will see what the polls say.