No time to think; here's my end of a dialogue:
I believe that the fall in public support for Abe should viewed in terms of both the overall trend and the most recent, precipitous drop. The long-term downward vector is mainly the result of political mismanagement, i.e. the lack of effective leadership and public communication on the political financing scandals, the bloopers, and the return of the twelve penitents (of which there was leadership of sorts for the last, but only in a way that made him look out of touch in the eyes of independent voters.
The most recent, which occurred in less than a fortnight (according to Mainichi polls, if I remember correctly), seems to be traceable directly to the latest public pension scandal, and it remains to be seen how lasting its effects are. Remember that the numbers had been on a two-month upward swing, once the LDP party machine managed to stanch the verbal hemorrhage, and deflect some of the fallout from the financing scandal to the opposition. And the LDP is taking the latest public pension scandal extremely seriously, and has moved to enact emergency legislation with amazing alacrity. That should allow some clawback of public support.
The effects of the Matsuoka suicide is of course not reflected in the latest numbers, and everybody is having a hard time deciding what to make of it. Bad publicity, sure, but Abe has been rid of a gangrenous limb. Or so we thought. I think the second suicide, the death of the Japan Green Resources Agency ex-board member, ensures that the JGRA issue will continue to command public attention. Once Matsuoka died, the media were sure to begin releasing more information than ever in any case. (A dead politician without a viable successor is open game.) But the suicide adds depth and intrigue to the story, so the prosecution is sure to pursue it to the fullest, ensuring fodder for the media over the summer. Abe surely hopes that this will not happen and that his inherent likeability will make his numbers climb back up again.
Perhaps. But every bounce is shorter than the fall (I should copyright that); barring unforeseen, catalytic events like 9.11, Abe will find that his baseline numbers have again dropped another couple of notches as the July Upper House elections draw near.