After Sunday’s DPJ victory in Yamaguchi, I am more convinced that polls have failed to capture the widespread and growing malaise among Japanese voters — and their willingness to hold the LDP responsible for policy failures that have made their lives more insecure.
Now Asahi has produced a poll showing that the DPJ has topped the LDP in popularity, at the same time that it found that Mr. Fukuda’s favorable rating has fallen to 20%. The DPJ’s support rose six points to 28%, the LDP’s fell two points to 24%. A slim margin, yes, but a margin that deprives the LDP of its claim to be more popular than DPJ. The shift is undoubtedly influenced by the gasoline tax fight, but even so, it is hard for the LDP to argue that it is has the public solidly behind it. In short, it’s hard to tell what exactly the party support figure represents. Does it actually measure the level of public support for the parties?
Regardless of the accuracy of these figures, both make it less likely that the LDP will accept an early election — and less likely that it will be Mr. Fukuda who leads the LDP into the next election.