69% of Japanese polled prefer Kan to Ozawa as DPJ leaderThat is really 70% for Kan versus 16% for Ozawa but who is counting? (Pollsters - Ed.)
A majority of Japanese people polled want Prime Minister Naoto Kan to stay on as leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, far surpassing those who support party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa, according to a Kyodo News survey released Saturday.
The telephone survey conducted Friday and Saturday showed 69.9 percent of those surveyed backing Kan in the Sept. 14 DPJ leadership election, compared with 15.6 percent for Ozawa... (Link).
The eye-opening number in the survey is that among Democratic Party voters Kan is even more popular and Ozawa less popular than amidst the public at large. A little over 82% of self-described Democratic supporters want Kan as the party leader and only 13% are in favor of Ozawa. While there is no such thing as a primary system, where members of local districts elect the candidates the party will be sending to the general election, the lack of support for Ozawa among core Democratic voters will have at least some effect on legislators who are wavering or even leaning toward supporting Ozawa. Nobody wants to discourage the core voters, as one needs their numbers and enthusiasm at election time. This is especially true for those Democratic members of the House of Representatives representing districts that have long been bastions of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Also bringing a crinkly smile to the lips is the dramatic jump in the Cabinet's popularity seemingly in the face of the threat of an Ozawa prime ministership. Two weeks ago support for the Kan Cabinet was at 39%, with the percentage of those not supporting the Cabinet at 45%. A month prior to that support was at 36%, with those not supporting at 52%. From the poll conducted Friday and yesterday, support for the Cabinet has rocketed to 48%, with those not supporting the Cabinet falling back to 36%.
The dramatic shift cannot be all about a fear of Ozawa -- but it sure as hell is mostly about him.