This is a "catch it while you can" post.
TBS has put up the results of its telephone public opinion poll taken February 4-5 (J).
The key takeaways from the post are:
Support for the cabinet has declined to 32.2%, while the percentage of those not supporting the Cabinet has risen to 66.6%. The decline in the Noda Cabinet's support numbers have been uninterrupted since the cabinet's inauguration, with no bounce at all from the cabinet reshuffle of January 13.
This news would be terrible news for Noda if it were not for the conveniently provided numbers for the Kan Cabinet, which stood at 28.3% at the time of the opening of last year's regular session of the Diet. Of course at the time the Kan Cabinet was reeling from the horrible mishandling of the Chinese fishing boat collision and subsequent leak of the video of that collision (a pair of extraordinary blunders that Sengoku Yoshito walked away from with a censure from the House of Councillors. That Sengoku is now in charge of drafting the DPJ's new electoral manifesto shows that some folks and organizations never learn). Kan received a bump due to his efforts post-3/11 but never regained the popularity Noda enjoys now.
As for the reasons why voters do not support the Noda Cabinet, the tired old "Because we have no hopes for his policies" occupies the top spot with 42% of all those not supporting the Cabinet. The reason why this is tired and old is that "no hopes for his policies" is always in the top spot, that or "no hopes for improving the economy" -- something a prime minister nowadays has almost no control over. As for not implementing policies, in a previous post I have indicated that there is, quite on the contrary, a great deal of movement toward the implementation of policies, if not quite the policies of the DPJ per se.
- As for the fraught legislation raising the consumption tax from 5% to 10% by fiscal year 2015, a majority of those polled, 56% are in favor, with 46% opposed. This is good news for the Noda government, for which the passage of the consumption tax legislation is the highest hurdle in its agenda for the current Diet session.
- Demonstrating that "by the year 2075" has not yet stuck in the voters heads as the height of absurdity, the further 7.1% rise in the consumption tax projected to be need by that date in order to pay for the 2009 manifesto promise of a floor of 70,000 yen per month in national pension payments is unpopular with 72% of the voters. These voters want the DPJ to reconsider its 2009 pledge -- no matter that only a small fraction of those offering this opinion will still be alive in 2075.
- Demonstrating that the sudden burst of activity in regionalist politics is having an effect on voters, 75% of those polled believe it desirable that regional parties participate in national politics. Unsurprisingly, the top vote getter among politicians that the voters find themselves drawn to is Osaka City mayor Hashimoto Toru, the poster child of the regionalist movement. Number two on the voters' mind is Tokyo Metropolitan District Governor Ishihara Shintaro, who has allied himself in name with Hashimoto's proposed administrative reforms in Osaka Prefecture. Coming in in third place is current Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko.
Though it does not appear in the above linked report, the JNN poll found the support numbers for the main national parties still on a downward slide, with the popularity of both the DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party below 20% and falling from last month's reading. The continuing decline in DPJ and LDP numbers is good for the country as it reduces to nil the enthusiasm of either party to face the voters in a snap election. These figures and the sudden irruption of interest in the regional parties going national are strong incentives for the two main national parties, along with the LDP's alliance partner the New Komeito, to produce a solid record of achievement in the current Diet session.
Whether the DPJ and the LDP follow these incentives, or find themselves getting sidetracked yet again by new developments in the ever-shifting saga of Ozawa Ichiro and his convicted lieutenants (one of whom, Ishikawa Tomohiro just got married to a former television presenter -- demonstrating that even future jailbirds still got wings to fly), remains the big question.
Image courtesy: TBS
Later - Here it is the next day and the link to the TBS report has already been removed from the Web.
As I said, catch as catch can.