Assuming that everything goes perfectly -- and I do mean perfectly -- for the Liberal Democratic Party in the district seat elections on July 21, and assuming its allies in constitutional revision the Japan Restoration Party and the Your Party pick up the majority of the seats remaining after one subtracts the four seats the New Komeito must/will win, the combined forces of constitutional revision will control 123 of the
Can the forces of revision win the further
In addition to voting for the district candidate, voters write either the name of a party member or the name of a party on a separate ballot. These votes are tallied according to party, with the vote for the individual counted as a vote for the party with whom he or she is affiliated.
The 48 seats up for election on this separate ballot are the proportional vote. Seats are divvied up using the d’Hondt method, meaning the vote totals are divided by one, then by two, then by three..with the largest remaining result getting the next available seat.
If you do not want to think to too much about the method but just want the results, here is a great calculator (Tip of the hat to Tobias Harris of Observing Japan).
The first guess one needs to make regarding the inputs, and it is a doozy, is how many folks will show up at the polling stations on July 21. As I insinuated in a post the other day major elections of the past year have featured record-breaking or close-to-record-setting low levels of voter turnout.
The causes of the low level of voter participation in 2013 are not hard to discern:
-a secular reduction in interest in elections since electoral reforms in the 1990s,
-a reduction in interest in politics after the collapse of the credibility of the Democratic Party of Japan as an alternative to the LDP,
- the exhaustion from having had a national election and a change of government only six months earlier and local elections only a few weeks ago,
- ridiculously high support ratings for both the Cabinet and the LDP in the public opinion polls (the demoralization factor) and
- the absence of real policy choice in between the parties.
The last items does not mean that the parties are indistinguishable, for they do offer different mixes of policies. However, none of these mixes is either inspired or inspiring, leading voters more likely to choose, when they show up, the parties that can enact any policies.
To these reasons for sitting out this election out we have to add the possibility of unpleasant weather on election day actively dissuading folks from leaving their homes to go to the polling stations (this summer has been naaaaassssty!).
The number of persons casting ballots I come up with, in a brutish, what-the-hell calculus, is 48,000,000 . That is a whopping 12 million voters down from the House of Councillors elections in 2007 and 2010. It is also a greater drop than the huge fall in between the 2009 and 2012 House of Representatives elections, when 10,000,000 voters who showed up in 2009 failed to show up last year.
The voting rate in this guestimate is nevertheless still more than 44.67% recorded in the 1995 House of Councillors election. The median age of the voters has risen since 1995, and older voters vote more, so that despite all the negative forces listed above, a turnout rate of 46% (based on the latest, July 8 figure from the Ministry for General Affairs and Telecommunications of 104,780,660 persons eligible to vote) seems about right.
Now, how will these votes be divided up?
Let us make two incredibly generous assumptions to critics who find me too solicitous of the LDP, one supposition regarding the DPJ based on atmospherics and one boneheaded assertion. The first is that the LDP does no better in the vote than its current 42% rate of support in public opinion polls, despite the concentration of power the drop in voter participation gives to vote machines. The second is that centrist voters, wary of giving the LDP too much support, will give their votes to the main center-right opposition DPJ, JRP and Your Party in about equal amounts. The third is that public trust in the DPJ has sunk to the point where the Your Party and the DPJ win exactly the same number of votes. The fourth, the dumb one, is that at least 7,000,000 folks plunk down for the New Komeito and its candidates.
The voting numbers I get, in aggregate, are:
New Komeito 7,000,000
Your Party 5,000,000
Other parties 1,200,000
Plugging these raw vote totals into the D’Hondt calculator, the following proportional seat distribution pops out:
New Komeito 7
Your Party 5
Other parties 0
The projection, biased upon the assumption of no last minute reversal of the decay of support for the DPJ, still only secures only 31 seats for the revisionists,
The fly in the constitutional revision crowd's punch bowl is...surprise! (not really) the NEW KOMEITO. Unless the leaders of the New Komeito or That Which Cannot Be Named tell their voters to not show up on the 21st, their immobile mass will outweigh any projected "rightward shift" in favor of constitutional revision.
I invite readers to play around with the calculator, trying out higher voter turnouts and different support levels based on the public opinion survey the individual reader may fancy.
Fiddle as one might, the leap to the