Japan from the inside out

More bad polling news for the DPJ

Posted by ampontan on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

IF THERE WERE a Japanese version of the Intrade market in the United States for betting on political outcomes, punters would be selling the Hatoyama administration short. Most of the nation’s media has already written them off, and it would verge on the miraculous—not to mention the politically stupid—if the prime minister were to allowed lead his party into the summer upper house election.

The results of a recent poll taken by FNN and the Sankei Shimbun and released on Sunday must have been bitter news for the DPJ. The poll also included several other questions of interest, and it was enlightening to see the answers to some of those questions for a change. Here it is in English.

Q: Do you support the Hatoyama Cabinet?

Yes: 30.5% (down from 42.8% on 6 and 7 February)
No: 53.9% (46.1%)
Don’t know: 15.6% (11.1%)

This collapse in support for this administration has come despite the absence of little in the way of bad news since the last poll, and the imminent passage of the party’s centerpiece legislative proposals at polling time. That support is unlikely to rebound for Mr. Hatoyama’s Cabinet, and the figures will probably continue to slide to the 20% level in the next round of polling. The numbers for the Fukuda and Aso administrations were lower at the six-month point, but both of their approval ratings started out nearly 25 percentage points less than Mr. Hatoyama’s to begin with. Incompetence, broken promises, and political funding scandals is no way to run a government.

Q: Which party do you support?

None: 37.1% (32.3%)
Democratic Party: 25.4% (32.9%)
Liberal Democratic Party: 18.8% (18.2%)
Your Party: 6.9% (3.9%)
New Komeito: 3.6% (4.6%)
Communist Party: 2.7% (2.3%)
Social Democratic Party: 2.0% (1.7%)
People’s New Party (AKA Kamei Family Party): 0.5% (0.9%)

That percentage of independents leaves the field wide open for serious reformers who can state their case. The DPJ isn’t going to get a second chance to make a first impression, and they blew their first chance very badly. They can’t even reach 30% with their two coalition performers combined. They barely make that level with New Komeito added (a possibility people are beginning to talk about), but that still doesn’t bring them close to the none-of-the-above group. Watanabe Yoshimi’s Your Party seems to have established itself in third place.

Q: What do you view as positives for the Hatoyama administration?

Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio’s personality:

Yes: 46.0% (51.9%)
No: 46.3% (40.5%)
Don’t know: 7.7% (7.6%)

Doesn’t that demonstrate the innate charity of the Japanese? Mr. Hatoyama’s personal ratings are under 50%, but still fairly high for the most unconvincing liar I’ve ever seen in politics, who begged the voters to forgive him for his financial scandals because he was a poor little rich boy reared in a privileged environment, and who comes off as more androgynous than extraterrestrial. It’s not often one sees a man with a quarter of a century in politics who gives speeches that sound like those of a teenaged boy and read like those of a teenaged girl.

The prime minister’s leadership ability:

Yes: 8.9% (12.1%)
No: 84.7% (79.4%)
Don’t know: 6.4% (8.5%)

Well, it’s better than a cat, as the Japanese say.

Results of the government after six months:

Good: 25.5%(-)
Bad: 57.5%(-)
Don’t know: 17.0%(-)

Again, this was with the passage of some of their primary legislation imminent, including the family allowance and free high school tuition.

The response to the issue of the international ban on tuna trade:

Good: 61.3(-)
Bad: 21.9(-)
Don’t know: 16.8(-)

It’s good to see the public supports this stance. That element of the international left which thinks it has the right to tell people what to eat will never give up.

The response to the activities of groups opposed to whaling (i.e., the SS):

Good: 33.6(-)
Bad: 48.1(-)
Don’t know: 18.3(-)

In light of the responses to the previous question, I would like to see a follow-up question for those with a negative view. Was their opinion informed by their opinion of whale eating, or their opinion of Japan taking decisive action that resulted in destroying a boat, in contrast to just maneuvering for votes at an international conference?

The response to the issue involving the American military air base at Futenma:

Good: 10.8% (15.8%)
Bad: 73.2% (69.2%)
Don’t know: 16.0% (15.0%)

Voters hate indecisiveness, particularly when it’s a result of trying to please everyone at once.

Response to the issue of secret treaties with the United States:

Good: 35.3%(-)
Bad: 43.3%(-)
Don’t know: 21.4%(-)

That’s a bit of a surprise to me, though I’m sure it was more of a surprise to the DPJ and points left.

The family allowance bill:

Good: 40.7%
Bad: 52.1%
Don’t know: 7.2%

Some people think the Japanese are social democrats by nature. Guess again.

The bill to eliminate tuition for high schools:

Good: 48.9%(-)
Bad: 42.2%(-)
Don’t know: 8.9%(-)

See what I mean? That’s closer than I would have thought.

Response to the problem of money politics:

Good: 7.5%(-)
Bad: 85.3%(-)
Don’t know: 7.2%(-)

It would be interesting to see who those 7.5% are.

The firing of DPJ Deputy Secretary-General Ubukata Yukio for his criticism of Secretary-General Ozawa Ichiro:

Good: 15.0(-)
Bad: 72.3(-)
Don’t know: 12.7(-)

Which of the following conditions do you think improved over the six months of the Hatoyama government?

The Japanese economy:

Yes: 13.1%
No: 48.6
Don’t know: 38.3%

The method of conducting politics:

Yes: 27.7%
No: 48.6%
Don’t know: 38.3%

This is what the DPJ was elected to do. If they have a mandate, this is what it’s for. If they can get only a quarter of the people to answer yes, they’re in trouble.

Japanese-American relations:

Yes: 16.1%
No: 43.8%
Don’t know: 40.1%

The relationship of trust between the people and government:

Yes: 22.1%
No: 56.8%
Don’t know: 21.1%

Q: Which of the following do you think the DPJ Diet members should do next about money politics?

They should call in the prime minister’s mother and other people involved for an explanation and questioning in the Diet:

Yes: 57.6%(-)
No: 36.9%(-)
Don’t know: 5.5%(-)

That’s a lot of people ready to put a woman in her 80s to serious questioning about her political contributions. From what I’ve seen, Mr. Hatoyama’s mother isn’t badly treated by the press. Folks must really be angry about money politics.

Mr. Hatoyama should resign as prime minister:

Yes: 30.1% (26.0%)
No: 60.7% (66.6%)
Don’t know: 9.2% (7.4%)

What difference does it make with the DPJ?

Mr. Ozawa should explain and answer questions in the Diet:

Yes: 89.5% (88.5%)
No: 8.0% (9.8%)
Don’t know: 2.5% (1.7%)

Mr. Ozawa should resign as secretary-general of the DPJ:

Yes: 74.3% (70.3%)
No: 20.1% (23.9%)
Don’t know: 5.6% (5.8%)

Should Diet member Ishikawa Tomohiro, indicted for his role in the political funds scandal involving Ozawa Ichiro, resign from the Diet?

Yes: 64.5% (9.4%)
No: 25.9% (24.1%)
Don’t know: 9.6% (6.5%)

Should Diet member Kobayashi Chiyoko, whose political workers were arrested in a scandal over improper contributions from the Hokkaido Teachers’ Union, resign from the Diet?

Yes: 74.0%(-)
No: 14.4%(-)
Don’t know: 11.6%(-)

This is an odd result in light of the responses to the previous question. Mr. Ishikawa was directly implicated in a magazine article with destroying evidence. In contrast, many people think Ms. Kobayashi didn’t really know what was going on.

That’s not to her credit, but still…Is it because the guilty parties were connected to the teachers’ union?

This series of problems will have an effect on the summer upper house election:

Yes: 92.6%(-)
No: 4.7%(-)
Don’t know: 2.7%(-)

Well, duh!

The North Korean schools should be excluded from the legislation to make high schools tuition free:

Yes: 49.9%
No: 36.3%
Don’t know: 13.8%

Considering the anti-Japanese nature of the education conducted at those schools, those numbers could be much higher.

What best describes your thinking about the move of the Futenma air base?

It should be outside of Japan: 37.5%
It should be off the coast of Camp Schwab in Okinawa in accordance with the original agreement: 21.0%
It’s not necessary to move the base at all: 12.6%
It should be in Japan outside of Okinawa: 12.3%
It should be in Okinawa at a different location: 8.9%
Don’t know: 7.7%

These are interesting numbers all around. The idea of hosting foreign military bases is going to have significant opposition in any country, but the relatively high rating for those who want to keep the original agreement is a bit surprising. Then again, a deal is a deal. Also, almost 56% of the respondents think the base should stay in Japan somewhere. Further, the last I read, Mr. Hatoyama was leaning toward a different location in Okinawa. That’s the least favored option.

If an agreement on the site of the move is not reached by the end of May, in accordance with the prime minister’s promise, should he resign?

Yes: 49.1%
No: 44.8%
Don’t know: 6.1%

That’s a closer margin than I would have thought. Considering that such a large percentage of those surveyed gave the prime minister low ratings for his handling of the situation, this would seem to suggest the issue might not be such a big deal for many people outside Okinawa.

Then again, with the DPJ, what difference does it make?

Who is most suited to be Japan’s prime minister?

No one: 23.1% (23.3%)
Masuzoe Yoichi: 19.0% (14.5%)
Okada Katsuya: 9.9% (6.7%)
Kan Naoto: 8.4% (9.0%)
Hatoyama Yukio: 5.8% (10.1%)
Maehara Seiji: 5.1% (9.8%)
Ishiba Shigeru: 4.9% (5.0%)
Watanabe Yoshimi: 4.3% (3.3%)
Yosano Kaoru: 2.8%(-)
Haraguchi Kazuhiro: 2.3% (4.0%)
Ozawa Ichiro: 1.9% (2.4%)
Ishigaki Sadakazu: 1.5% (1.8%)
Hatoyama Kunio: 0.3% (-)

When the head of the LDP can’t even beat Ozawa Ichiro, and Mr. Masuzoe of the same party tops the list of real people, maybe it’s time to think about a change. But that’s the mudboat party. You’ve heard the song lyrics, Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow? With them, it’s Don’t Stop Thinking about Yesterday.

What would you like to see as the next step by the ruling and opposition parties before the summer upper house election?

A reshuffling of the Hatoyama Cabinet:

Yes: 49.2%
No: 45.2%
Don’t know: 5.6%

What difference does it make?

A new policy review focusing on public corporations:

Yes: 68.5%
No: 24.2%
Don’t know: 7.3%

A continuation of the coalition government with the DPJ, SDPJ, and the PNP:

Yes: 27.5%
No: 62.1%
Don’t know: 10.4%

Message to Ms. Fukushima and Mr. Kamei: They’re just not that into you. And you know what they say about people who aren’t part of the solution.

Strengthening ties between the DPJ and New Komeito:

Yes: 22.2%
No: 68.6%
Don’t know: 9.2%

Why would the voters like a new coalition of expediency when they already dislike the one they have now?

The DPJ winning an absolute majority in the upper house:

Yes: 32.3%
No: 58.5%
Don’t know: 9.2%

The voters don’t like the current coalition, they don’t like the idea of New Komeito in a coalition, and they don’t like the idea of single-party DPJ rule.

I wouldn’t want to have to pay their laundry bill after DPJ headquarters saw these results. Luckily, Hatoyama Yukio can afford it.

The creation of a new party:

Yes: 30.1%
No: 60.6%
Don’t know: 9.3%

This is a curious result. I also would like to see additional questions offering possible reasons for the No answer. Would the highest response be: What difference does it make? Is it that the Japanese have never seen what a well-run, ideologically consistent political party with serious ideas looks like? (New Komeito doesn’t count.)

Replacing the leadership of the LDP:

Yes: 44.5%
No: 45.7%
Don’t know: 9.8%

What difference does it make?

The coming activities of Hatoyama Kunio after leaving the LDP:

Yes: 16.8%
No: 75.7%
Don’t know: 7.5%

The positive response one can get from name recognition alone is fascinating.

Which party do you want to vote for in the proportional representation phase of the summer upper house election?

DPJ: 29.4% (37.0%)
LDP: 24.0% (23.2%)
Don’t know:12.6% (14.2%)
Your Party: 10.0% (4.6%)
Don’t intend to vote: 6.6% (6.7%)
Communist Party: 3.9% (2.8%)
New Komeito: 3.7% (4.9%)
Social Democratic Party: 2.7% (1.8%)
People’s New Party:1.3% (1.0%)

The LDP might as well have an avocado as party president as Mr. Tanigaki, and they didn’t do much of anything in between the time the polls were taken, yet their gap with the DPJ was reduced by nearly two-thirds. They’re just like Paul Newman in the movie: Sometimes nothing is a real cool hand!

5 Responses to “More bad polling news for the DPJ”

  1. JapanSoc said

    More bad polling news for the DPJ…

    The DPJ’s polling data is going down the toilet rapidly – here’s the full numbers from the most recent poll….

  2. σ1 said

    As the response to the question “should the PM resign” I am not sure about the “political stupidity” of Hatoyama Y. leading – at least in simple terms.

    Actually it indicates he should not step down lightly – for his party’s sake at least. I think if the party wants to replace him they need to engineer a way out rather than to simply replace him because of bad numbers. I think with the last three PMs basically saying “I give up” (well Aso in so much that he seemed to stop taking politics seriously) the Japanese public would not accept another one – perhaps a convenient inability to resolve the Futenma issue by May would play ok with the media – after all it was a “read my lips” promise – Okada was favoured by the public last year anyway over Hatoyama Y. and he seems to be a bit more pragmatic.
    I read an interesting rumor regarding Okada recently in one of those roundtable discussions between members of the bureaucracy. They were talking about who would replace Hatoyama. When it came to Okada, someone said he would be unacceptable to the Americans, and they said that he and Hillary Clinton did not get along well at all. But, it’s just a rumor after all.

    – A.

  3. σ1 said

    Ha! The less sensible side of me would like to see that play out, if anyone tried to exert influence……

  4. toro said

    It’s that toilet bowl of a bureaucracy that’s the main headache here! Those guys unfortunately are the ones with the main power not Hatoyama obviously! The man has some very good ideas, ideas that seriously need to get off the ground, but he’s just not doing his work like he should! Falling asleep on the job Naoto Kan is not one of them!
    It’s those guys above him that make the move it seems

  5. toro said


    Two things that need to absolutely be done: Birth rate solutions and also aging population issue. Proper action needs to be done to these without fail.

    It’s time we have leaders who actually have a head on their shoulders!

    It’s time for a real change, U.S has gotten theirs with Obama!

    Japan needs to have a healthy population growth and
    a balanced population.

    If Futenma is outside Japan, how in the heck will Japan defend itself? Unless the world can agree on Japan developing its defenses again. Keep it in Japan for the better good basically, stop grouching and appreciate the service!

    It’s time people and government are not separate and can choose their leaders here in Japan, I’m sorry but the current system now is so not democratic and so stone age!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: