Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Now Willing to Bet the House On Mr. Fukuda

…before I start work…

The Yomiuri and Asahi polls (Sept.15-16) show Yasuo Fukuda holding an overwhelming lead over Taro Aso (Yomiuri 58%-22%, 61%-27% among LDP supporters; Asahi53%-21%, 56%-27%). The Yomiuri also canvassed the 387 LDP Diet members. Of the 258 who stated their preferences, 213 supported Mr. Fukuda against 45 for Mr. Aso. Among other things, both the public and the LDP Diet members see Mr. Fukuda as the figure that provides a sense of stability.

The party members who will take part in the Prefectural "primaries" (3x47 electoral votes) should be somewhat more nationalist in their outlook than the general public, or even less committed LDP supporters. They should also be somewhat less fearful of the consequences of winding up on the losing side of the battle than the Diet members. Still, they are human. They are not going to buck this trend. I would be astonished if Mr. Fukuda does not take a sizeable majority of the 141 Prefectural votes. I would lose my house if he does not carry a simple majority… if betting were legal in Japan, which it's not.

The policy statements of the two candidates are basically all-inclusive lists (Mr. Aso's marginally less so), none of whose items would be rejected outright except by extreme contrarians. Or Kim Jong-il. To the best of my knowledge, none of the national dailies have posted them on their online websites. So far, the LDP has not posted them on its candidates' profile page either. Mr. Fukuda's manifest can be found on his official website here; not so with Mr. Aso.

Never mind; whatever happens, the contest has sucked the life out of the DPJ PR machine for the time being, and that is a nice, albeit temporary, takeaway for the LDP.

Tucked away at the bottom of the Yomiuri list of questions is one that asks for the currently preferred party. It's LDP 31.9%, DPJ 27.1%, and no preference 31.6%. The LDP, DPJ, and undecided, in roughly equal proportions: the battle for the big fat middle ground of fencesitters resumes in a minute.

Incidentally, the New Komeito received only 2.7% support, on a par with the Japan Communist Party. Extrapolated over the roughly 100 million eligible voters, that would come to about 3 million supporters. NK regularly receives 8 million votes nationwide, give or take a few hundred thousand. I suspect that there still is a tendency to hide your Sokagakkai leanings, a holdover from its earlier cultish, proselytizing years. I mean, how many people do you see on the commuter trains clutching Seikyo Shinbun? Okay, more than the Akahata, but you see my point?

Now, to work.

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