But it is not just the weather that favors the DPJ.
Evidence continues to mount that independents will abandon the LDP in extraordinary numbers, having tired of LDP rule. In its last poll before the election Mainichi found that the LDP should be able to get LDP supporters out to vote, but the problem is that LDP supporters have fallen to 20% of respondents. Nearly 40% of respondents who said they voted for the LDP in PR voting in 2005 said they will vote for the DPJ in PR voting this year. Mainichi also confirmed that as far as policy goes, this campaign has been contested on the DPJ’s terms: the DPJ’s policies are preferred on the areas of greatest concern to voters, pensions, health care, and child and education policy. The issues of greatest important to respondents are pensions and health and nursing care (33%), anti-recessionary policy (25%), education and child policy (16%), “regime change” (8%), and administrative reform (7%). It seems that for the second consecutive election the LDP has decided not to talk much about the issues of greatest concern to the Japanese public. Mainichi also found evidence that the DPJ’s manifesto-centered campaign strategy — discussed here — has paid dividends. 70% of respondents said that they are referring to manifestos in casting their vote, and of those 70%, to DPJ is preferred 51% to 23% for SMDs and 50% to 21% in PR voting.
Of course, beyond the poll numbers, there is this figure: unemployment in July reached 5.7%, an historic high, as deflation worsened and households cut their spending. Much as Japanese households benefited relatively little from Japan’s “longest postwar growth period” during the earlier part of this decade, they are not benefiting from Japan’s supposed “recovery.” The LDP may have been the victim of the global financial crisis (“originating from America”), but these figures are a testament to the LDP’s failure to develop a new growth strategy since the bubble burst nearly two decades ago. It is a final remainder of how economic insecurity has grown during these two decades, arguably the insecurity that will drive the LDP from power on Sunday.