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46% against pro-constitutional amendment camp securing 2/3 of seats in upper house: poll

Forty-six percent of respondents to the latest Mainichi Shimbun survey said they did not hope that those supporting constitutional amendments occupy two-thirds of seats in the House of Councillors after an election this summer, the proportion of seats needed along with a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives to hold a national referendum on constitutional revision.

    One of the key focal points of the upcoming upper house election is whether the pro-amendment forces gain a two-thirds majority, or 162 seats. The Mainichi Shimbun conducted telephone polling on Jan. 30 and 31 and received responses from 1,011 people from 1,624 households with eligible voters.

    According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents hoped for the pro-amendment camp to secure a two-thirds majority in the upper house. Of the supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), 60 percent said they hoped that the pro-amendment forces occupy a two-thirds majority while 57 percent of non-affiliates said they did not hope for such a distribution of seats after the upper house election.

    Asked which party they would vote for in the proportional representation (PR) bloc of the upper house election now, 36 percent said they would cast a ballot for the LDP, followed by the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) at 10 percent, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) at 7 percent, the Initiatives from Osaka at 6 percent and the LDP's coalition partner Komeito at 5 percent. While non-affiliates appeared to be split over their choice of parties, the LDP gained the most support for PR at 14 percent.

    Among those who said they hoped that the pro-amendment camp secures a two-thirds majority, 58 percent said they would vote for the LDP. At the same time, 19 percent of respondents who did not hope for such an outcome also named the LDP as their possible choice in the upper house election, followed by the DPJ at 15 percent and the JCP at 13 percent.

    DPJ leader Katsuya Okada told the regular party convention on Jan. 30, "We must not allow pro-amendment forces to get two-thirds of seats in the upper house," as the party seeks ways to form a united front with other opposition parties. The latest Mainichi poll shows, however, that those who do not hope for the pro-amendment camp to secure a two-thirds majority were not necessarily thinking of voting for the opposition.

    Asked whether the security-related legislation would be a yardstick when casting a vote in the upper house election, 53 percent said yes, down 3 points from the previous survey in December last year. Regardless, a majority of the pollees saw the topic as an important indicator for the election. Meanwhile, 35 percent said no to the question, up 3 points from the December poll.

    Of those who said yes to the question above, 34 percent said they would vote for the LDP in the PR bloc, 13 percent favored the DPJ and 11 percent said they would pick the JCP. Of those who said they would not consider the security legislation as a decisive factor in voting, 42 percent picked the LDP for the PR seats while other parties gained less than 10 percent of support each. While the figures show that the issue of security-related legislation could bring votes against the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it is not significant enough to break the LDP's one-party dominance.

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