Monday, June 04, 2007

Birds of a Feather

The Asahi Shimbun editors, always looking for a silver lining as far as Prime Minister Abe Shinzō is concerned, decided to check and see whether or not the suicide of Matsuoka Toshikatsu (M.H.R.I.P) had any effect upon the prime minister's already low standing in the polls.

The results were not pretty:

Support rate for Abe hits record low 30%
The Asahi Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support rate further deteriorated to a record low 30 percent, as public criticism increased over shoddy pension records and political money scandals, an Asahi Shimbun weekend survey showed.

The support rate was a marked slip from 36 percent recorded in a similar survey taken on May 26 and 27 and less than half of the 63-percent backing the Abe Cabinet received when he took office in September last year.

The nonsupport rate for the administration jumped to 49 percent from 42 percent in the previous survey.

Among male respondents, the support rate slid from 36 percent to 27 percent while the nonsupport rate rose from 47 percent to 56 percent.

Among women, who had been bigger supporters of the Abe Cabinet, the support rate stood at 32 percent, while nonsupport was 43 percent.

Ah, those hooded, bedroom eyes and his hard right positions...still holding sway over one segment of the electorate.

Seriously, why is the PM's support level higher among women?

Anyway, while I may not agree with the Japan Observer on Russia, I do agree with the contention that the Democratic Party of Japan will pound away on the issue of competence and control.

In scraping in at only 30% support, the Abe Cabinet is probably engendering some real buyer's remorse in the LDP.

I can remember the time early last summer when Abe began to pull away from Fukuda in the leadership sweepstakes. The reason for Abe's surge, if I remember it correctly, was, "Abe can help us win elections; Fukuda can't."

I can even remember former Prime Minister Mori Yoshirō arguing that Fukuda should be made prime minister first. According to Mori's plan, Fukuda would then lead the LDP to defeat in the July 2007 House of Councillor's elections. This would set the stage for Abe to be brought in as the party's savior (Maestro, cue the music, extended version)

What the prime minister and his Cabinet need are a few weeks of blunder-free parliamentary procedures and normal central government functions. Sadly, this sets the PM on the same level as his unwitting role model in the White House--another 30 percenter who has sunk so low that a week going by without a massive embarrassing failure or scandal is now considered news. (Hat tip to

And to see how close the pair are, nothing beats the cover of the July edition of Shokun! magazine, with the lurid red letter cover story "Jūgun ianfu okisari ni sareta shinjitsu" ("The truth of how the Comfort Women got left in the lurch")

Oh, c'mon Editor, nobody can see that. Can't we have a blowup of just the two men?

Ah, there. Best Friends. Makin' and acceptin' apology-like things and craftin' global alliances.

And stuff.


Excess Information said...

I'd like to see the demographic breakdown of the respondents for the Asahi surveys. I wonder if they are over-sampling female respondents. Even if this is not the case, taking into account the margin of error, it is a small difference.
I haven't looked at gender and cabinet support, but there is no gender gap in voting preferences in Japan. So even if women are more likely than men to support the Abe cabinet, this is unlikely to be reflected at the ballot box.

MTC said...

Gill -

Thanks for the information on the relationship between polling numbers and voting totals.

One of the factors that weighed heavily in the internal vote to succeed Koizumi was Abe's purported attractiveness to female voters. From what you are saying, it seems the LDP members were chasing after shadows.

Excess Information said...

Yes, shadows. Well put.
Even in the 2001 and 2004 UH elections under Koizumi there was no gender gap in LDP voting preferences.
The DPJ seems to be slightly less likely to attract votes from women than men.

Jun Okumura said...

There is a much greater 13 percentage point gender gap in the non-support numbers, in contrast to the 5 percentage point support gap. I can see a way to connect this disparity to actual voting behavior, but I would like to hear from a pro on this. Gill?