Saturday, September 06, 2008
Mr. Fukuda’s Rising Popularity before His Resignation
As an answer to my plea, Ross has sent me a NIKKEI graph-and-table that shows Prime Minster Fukuda’s poll numbers making a steady climb after April except for the precipitous drop after the post-Cabinet reshuffle. (Longtime readers with long memories will remember that this was something that I had predicted for 2008. It came months later than I had expected; I plead extenuating circumstances.) But bump itself was anomalous and very much out of line with other media polls. If you take that unscheduled poll out of the equation, Mr. Fukuda’s numbers were improving up until the very end. Ross believes that this disproves any theory that links Mr. Fukuda’s resignation to deteriorating poll numbers. I agree with this, and I don’t have a better answer than his assessment that “it was the uselessness of pushing ahead in the legislative arena that drove his decision.”
Ross poses a couple of interesting questions here: Why did the media miss this? And why didn’t the Prime Minister’s handlers identify the improvement and play it up? I have no answer to the first question, having missed it myself. As for the second one, an insider close to Junichiro Koizumi expressed strong dissatisfaction with the current Prime Minister’s office. So maybe incompetence? Mr. Fukuda’s aversion to self-promotion—I saw it once, up close, while he was out of office—couldn't have helped either.