Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Hatoyama Cabinet Pulls Out Of Its Nosedive

The first round of post-New Years’ polls are out and the results are cause for dancing in the halls of Democratic Party of Japan headquarters. The heretofore declining support numbers for the Cabinet are leveling off.

[most recent figures in bold. Previous poll in (). All numbers are percentages]

Sankei Shimbun (January 7)
Support 56.4 (51.0)
Do not support 37.8 (40.4)
Don’t know 7.6 (8.6)

Yomiuri Shimbun (January 8-9)
Support 56 (55)
Do not support 34 (33)
Don’t know 10 (12)

Kyodo News (January 10-11)
Support 50.8 (47.2)

That all the polls show a rise in the support numbers is nice...but except for the Sankei poll, the rises are not necessarily statistically significant.

As for the party support numbers, the news just goes from bad to worse for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party. In the LDP-friendly Yomiuri Shimbun 's poll, the LDP’s result is the party's worst showing ever.

Sankei Shimbun (January 7)
I support the…

DPJ 33.4
LDP 17.2
Communists 3.2
New Komeito 2.8
Everybody’s Party 1.4
Socialists 0.6
People’s New Party 0.4
No particular party 40.0

Yomiuri Shimbun (January 8-9)
I support the…

DPJ 39
LDP 16
Communists 3
New Komeito 3
Everybody’s Party 1
Socialists 1
No particular party 35

These results are incredibly bad news for the LDP. Its support levels have remained static or even declined even as the prime minister struggled and both he and DPJ Secretary-General have had their former underlings go on trial or be put under indictment for political funds law violations. The four months since the election have provided numerous opportunities for the party to get itself back on its feet and score some political points against the DPJ in preparation for fight for control of the House of Councillors in July. From these polling results, the LDP has failed to capitalize on the DPJ’s difficulties in any way.

Having blown its chances in the fall, the LDP’s hopes now hang upon the embarrassing questions it intends to ask about Hatoyama’s and Ozawa’s finances in the regular Diet session that starts on January 18. The dream is that public opinion will shift strongly against Hatoyama, forcing him into resigning, leading to a cascade of events that break the DPJ's back. This was strategy that the LDP deployed against the only other post-1955 non-DPJ Prime Minister Hosokawa Morihiro.

Of course, the chances of this plan working to the LDP's satisfaction are nil. First, the DPJ is a unified party with a 300+ seat majority in the House of Representatives. There is no chance of the DPJ breaking apart under the strain as the anti-LDP coalition did in 1994.

Furthermore, the DPJ’s leaders, many of whom served in the Hosokawa administraton, learned their lessons from that experience, the chief lesson being never, ever, ever resign, no matter what the LDP throws at you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have a funny feeling this spoon fed
joker will last a year! I dunno we'll see...hopefully see some serious results from this guy.
Although like some of his ideas with Asia and
the 25% C02 reduction thing.