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Koike leads Tokyo governor race, Torigoe falls behind: Mainichi analysis

Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike is the leading candidate for the July 31 Tokyo gubernatorial election, according to analysis of a recent Mainichi Shimbun opinion poll and Mainichi news coverage, with former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda and journalist Shuntaro Torigoe trailing.

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted its second telephone poll for the upcoming gubernatorial race on July 23 and 24.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supporters appeared to have been split over who they would be voting for, with LDP member Koike and Masuda, who is endorsed by the ruling party, both garnering a little less than 40 percent of support. Among voters with no party affiliation, who made up more than 30 percent of survey respondents, over 30 percent supported Koike, while slightly less than 20 percent said they would vote for Torigoe and over 10 percent said they favored Masuda.

Koike has gained further support from LDP supporters and independent voters compared with the earlier Mainichi study a week ago. Nearly 20 percent of supporters of the LDP's coalition partner Komeito and the opposition Democratic Party (DP) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) also favored Koike.

Masuda, endorsed by the LDP, Komeito and the minor opposition Party for Japanese Kokoro, has managed to boost support among LDP backers in the latest study compared to the 30 percent who favored him in the earlier poll, while receiving more than 60 percent of approval from Komeito supporters.

Torigoe, backed jointly by the DP, the JCP, the Social Democratic Party and the People's Life Party, was gaining around 60 percent approval from supporters of these respective opposition parties. However, he appeared to be having a hard time garnering support from non-affiliated voters in the latest Mainichi analysis, although he had over 20 percent of support from independent voters in the initial poll.

Koike was popular among both women and men mainly among those in their 30s and 40s. Young male voters appeared to favor Masuda, with 18- and 19-year-olds and men in their 20s supporting him. He was also popular among women in their 70s and older. Torigoe was favored by men in their 50s and older. Among women in their 40s and 50s, who favored Torigoe next to Koike in the earlier research, support for Masuda surpassed that for Torigoe in the latest study.

In an analysis of voters' choices in the previous Tokyo gubernatorial election, Masuda and Koike were the favored candidates among those who voted for former Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, who was backed by the LDP and Komeito. While more than 40 percent of voters who supported former Japan Federation of Bar Associations president Kenji Utsunomiya or former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in the previous gubernatorial race favored Torigoe, whose policies overlap with the two former candidates, 20-30 percent said they would vote for Koike.

However, with at least 30 percent of respondents saying they had yet to decide who they would ultimately vote for, the situation could change at any time.

A record 21 candidates are running in the Tokyo gubernatorial election, including Koike, Masuda and Torigoe.

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