Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Is Why We Play the Game: from the Abe Administration Poll Numbers

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

Here are the support/do not support poll figures for the Abe adminstration, post-election and post reshuffle:

Support Abe administration

Kyodo Tsushin29.0%40.5%

Do not support Abe administration

Kyodo Tsushin59.0%45.5%

For anyone who does not follow the Japanese media with regularity, the discrepancy between the poll numbers for Asahi and Yomiuri are par for the course and reflect their ideological and political leanings (left-center and center-right respectively). Kyodo Tsushin is a wire service and is considered more or less neutral


Bryce said...

They're a little high, but it looks like a combination of no one doing anything drastically wrong for a month (Koike's announcement that she wouldn't be taking the Defense Minister post hardly rates compared to earlier gaffes) and excitement over a new cabinet. Things should drop down again.

Bryce said...

Also, asking a bunch of people whether they support "the Abe cabinet" or whether they support "the reformed Abe Cabinet" are two fundamentally different things. If you didn't like the (unreformed) cabinet, you're more likely to be thankful the bums have been thrown out, no matter what you really think of the current bunch.

Jun Okumura said...

Bryce: I think that it's mostly the new Cabinet. Absence of scandal merely stabilizes. But maybe I'm just talking nuance.

I don't think that Mr. Abe has to do much to keep the numbers there unless something bad happens. However, things do happen, and not all of them will be to his benefit. His problem is that the margin of error has narrowed substantially. It's like being HIV-positive without access to the latest medication – a garden-variety flu that he could have shrugged off in September 2006 could easily kill him in September 2007. My favorite Japan analyst says Mr. Abe will be out by the end of 2008. I am not so sure, but there is blood in the water, and everybody can smell it.

Your second point reminds me of our sense of smell. Having said that, Mr. Abe has set up a team that looks competent, as well as media-friendly in the day-to-day. The second point will serve them well when the shit, as it always will, hits the fan. Edmund Muskie, Al Gore, John Kerry; these are just a few of the people who could have done better by making themselves more likeable to the press. Like George Bush, for instance.