Public discontent, in numbers

Sankei has published the fourth part of its analysis of recent public opinion polls (parts one through three discussed here).

The questions dissected here are related to the government’s use of its two-thirds majority to pass the gasoline tax and MSDF refueling mission authorization bills a second time in the HR, and cooperation between the LDP and DPJ in response to the “twisted” Diet.

Sankei observes that while a majority of respondents in April poll stated that they opposed the reinstatement of the gasoline tax in a second HR vote, a majority of the public approved the use of the supermajority to pass the extension of the refueling mission in a November poll. Another poll conducted in January following the HR’s second passage of the refueling mission bill, however, found that the public had turned against the use of the supermajority.

I don’t see what the mystery is. In the gasoline tax debate, the public undoubtedly opposed the use of the supermajority to reinstate the temporary tax because…the public overwhelmingly opposed the measure. In the refueling mission debate, the public likely turned against the government’s insistence on using the supermajority to send MSDF ships back to the Indian Ocean because it rejected the government’s focus on it even while the pensions debacle continued (for example).

The point is, as noted previously, that the public is unhappy with the current political situation. To drive the point home, Sankei concluded by citing two more polls that showed sizable majorities in favor of LDP-DPJ policy coordination and the meetings between Messrs. Ozawa and Fukuda last autumn. Another poll, however, showed that the public has no more idea than the politicians about how to break the deadlock: in a poll conducted last November 41.3% wanted a quick general election, while another 41.3% wanted more cooperation between government and opposition.

No word if the public is still divided after watching the rapid decay of the Fukuda government.

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