A majority of respondents in a recent opinion poll conducted jointly by the Mainichi Shimbun and a survey company said they didn't expect much from Japan's opposition forces just because the two main opposition parties are merging to form a new political party, while only 24% expressed that their expectations were raised for the new party.
The Mainichi Shimbun and the Social Survey Research Center carried out the opinion poll on Sept. 8. Asked whether their expectations for the opposition forces had been heightened by the planned merger of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) and the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), 65% said they "didn't expect much from them in the first place," far exceeding the 24% who said their hopes had been raised. Ten percent answered they now have lower expectations from the opposition forces.
While a leadership election for the post-merger party is taking place alongside the presidential election for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to pick outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's successor, the latest poll shows the public's disinterest in the de facto reunion of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan, which ran the government between 2009 and 2012. The CDP is struggling to boost its support rate as shown in the survey, with only 8% affiliated with the main opposition (a 1 percentage point decline from the previous poll), while the LDP's support rate jumped from 29% in the previous poll to 39%.
Support rates for other parties stood at: 8% for the Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) (11% in the previous poll); 4% for the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, unchanged from the last survey; 4% for the Japanese Communist Party (5% in the previous poll); 2% for the Reiwa Shinsengumi party, unchanged from the previous survey; 1% for the Social Democratic Party, also unchanged from the last survey; and 1% for the DPFP, 1 point down from the previous poll. Meanwhile, 31% said they had no party affiliation, a 5-point drop from the last opinion poll.
The survey, targeting those aged 18 and older, was conducted mainly via short text messages on mobile phones. A random digit sampling method was used to generate phone numbers (both landlines and cell phones) by computer, and automated interactive voice response technology was used to call those numbers. For mobile phones, people who agreed to participate in the survey were sent a text message providing a link to an answer form. For landlines, people were asked to press numbers to respond to questions. After setting a target of 700 responses on mobile phones and 300 on landlines, a total of 730 valid answers were obtained through mobile phones, and 301 through landlines.
(Japanese original by Takahiro Hirata, Poll Office)