Fukuda Cabinet ↓ (March 33.9%→ April 30.0%), LDP ↓ (33.1→30.6), DPJ ↓ (17.6→17.4), New Kōmeitō ↓ (2.7→2.6), People’s New Party ↓ (0.3→0.2), Communist Party ↓ (2.5→1.7), Social Democratic Party ↓ (1.1→0.5), New Party Japan ↑ (0.2→0.1), None ↑ (41.9→46.0)
Now most of these numbers, taken individually, are within the margin of error. But do we see a pattern emerging? The Yomiuri face-to-face interview poll took place on April 12-13, with 1753 out of 3,000 randomly chosen eligible voters responding.
Want to know more? Only 29.0% favor a House of Representatives supermajority override that will resurrect the gasoline tax surcharge, while 60.8% oppose it. Neatly mirroring these figures, 62.8% support the handover of the road-specific funds to general purpose funds, while only 26.7% oppose it. However, a majority 50.7% do support the extension of the surcharge (although only 8.7% support keeping it for roads only), while 40.2% support its elimination. Actually, this apparent contradiction is nothing new. The majority of the Japanese electorate accepts the taxes, but won’t let the road tribe and its fellow travelers have their way with the money. That’s where Prime Minister Fukuda, under pressure from all sides, wound up. However, this bit of serendipity isn’t getting his administration anywhere in the polls.
As for the future, 45.4% want an administration that involves the LDP one way or another (current LDP-New Kōmeitō coalition 19.5%, LDP stand-alone administration 6.7%, LDP-DPJ-led coalition 19.2%), while 39.9% want an administration that involves the DPJ (DPJ-led coalition of opposition parties 16.4%, DPJ stand-alone administration 4.3%, LDP-DPJ-led coalition 19.2%). Only 18.4% want an “administration under a new framework with a realignment of the governing and opposition parties”. That is good news for the existing party leaderships. The electorate appears to be willing to give those parties another chance, and leaning － albeit unenthusiastically － toward giving the DPJ a whack at the piñata as well.