On Twitter, Eric Slavin of Stars & Stripes has asked whether the Cabinet reshuffle, particularly the inception of five women into the Cabinet has changed the Cabinet's approval ratings among women. The answer from the Yomiuri Shimbun's polling (not yet on line; may never be) is, "Yes" -- and in a big way. According to the Yomiuri, support for the previous Cabinet, measured on August 1-3, was 51%, with with 58% of men and only 45% of women supporting the then Cabinet. Polling conducted over September 3-4 as regards the new cabinet found total support at 64%, with 66% of men supporting the Cabinet (+8 pts) but a nearly equal and whopping 63% of women now supporting the Cabinet (+18 pts).
Eighteen points overnight is movement, baby.
Even larger, according to the Yomiuri, was the shift in the number of middle-aged persons showing renewed or first time support for the Cabinet. In August, 48% of persons in the 40-50 years of age bracket supported the cabinet. Yesterday, 67% voters in that age bracket said they supported the Cabinet, a 19 point shift. Voters 60 years of age and above also found something to like, with the support ratio in that age bracket going from 52% to 64% (interesting less than middle-aged folk) -- a shift upward of 12 points.
Interesting but perhaps not surprising because it was insanely high already, support for the Cabinet among the very youngest voters, those in between the ages of 20 and 30, did not budge a millimeter: 59% in August, 59% now.
That last figure -- showing the Abe Cabinet with inordinately stable and high levels of support among the youngest class of voters (indeed in August younger voters were the ones who were the most faithful to Abe) -- spell disaster for the opposition parties, who by definition have to run on a message of change. The very young voters, the supposedly most volatile and impressionable of cohorts, have found their messenger of change -- and according to the Yomiuri's polling results, it is Abe Shinzo.
Later - Apologies for the plethora of typos in the first release.