On the latest Asahi “random sample” telephone poll (Dec.1-2; numbers in parenthesis from previous Nov.3-4 poll):
The online article provides the following numbers:
1. Resuming the refueling operations: necessary 44(43)%, unnecessary 44(41)%
2. Refueling resumption bill: support 36(35)%, oppose 43(43)%
3. Using the supermajority override in case the bill is voted down in the Upper House: appropriate 46%, inappropriate 37% (appears to be new question)
Hard to make sense out of the relationship between points 1 and 2. However, the battlefront appears to have moved only slightly in the face of all the stench emanating from Takemasa Moriya and defense dealer Yamada Yōkō and their environs. The article reports that 25% of those opposed to the bill found the override “appropriate”. This should give Ichiro Ozawa and his 50-strong entourage something to think about on their TGIF, weekend photo-op in Beijing (a reminder, by the way, from Chinese authorities that the Fukuda administration － the Prime Minister is due for a newly routine*, confirmative visit in January － is not the only game in town).
The headline of the article reads:
LDP, DPJ Neck-and-Neck at 32% If Lower House Proportional Seats Voting Now
Asked their preference for the go-to party for the next administration, 37% opted for the LDP while 36% chose the DPJ. But in the regular questions, support for the Fukuda administration (support 44%, not support 36%) as well as for the LDP (31%) and DPJ (23%) remained unchanged**. In any case, only 36% want an early snap election, while 55% oppose it.
The collective message from the Asahi-poll-responsive public***:
We’ve already made up our minds and we think passing the refueling bill by any means is sort of okay. In any case, it’s not that a big deal so we don’t want you guys going to the mattresses over it. (from here on, I am sort of speculating)In fact, if you have any time left after you - yes, you Mr.. Ozawa, you, Mr. Kōmura, and yes, of course you, Mr. Fukuda - pay your respects to Chinese leaders while our Diet is in session, we want you to look at more important stuff like all the time-limited tax measures that expire as of the end of this fiscal year (31 March), and for the long-term, to start talking seriously about the financial viability of the public pension and health systems and more broadly the public finances. We could go on, but you know the laundry list. A little statecraft, please; we are watching you.
* Prime Minister Abe flying to Beijing (and stopping over at Seoul) was a novelty. Prime Minister Fukuda’s trip is merely the continuation of a routine resumed, like the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. The only cloud on the horizon seems to be the disagreement over the East China Sea gas fields. I’m beginning to think that a deal can be struck, and that an agreement that keeps Chinese and Japanese nativists at bay is at least plausible. I’ll post it if I can put more focus into the particulars of a possible deal. But otherwise, don't put much meaning into the visit. Or Mr. Ozawa's.
** These numbers do support my contention that the LDP and DPJ own a third and one-fourth/fifth respectively and are fighting it out for the floater one-third.The New Kōmeitō, the Japan Communist Party and the micros account for the remainder of the committed electorate.
*** Don’t you wish that all the media polls asked the same questions so that we could compare them? That could make way for a whole slew of controlled test.