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LDP most popular, nearly 40% of voters undecided ahead of Japan general election

The National Diet building is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Oct. 14, 2021. (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is the most popular among Japanese voters ahead of the general election, though nearly 40 percent remain undecided on which party they will vote for, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

    In the nationwide telephone survey conducted on Saturday and Sunday, 29.6 percent of respondents said they will vote for the LDP led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when casting ballots under proportional representation on Oct. 31, followed by 9.7 percent backing the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

    But 39.4 percent said they still do not know for which party they will vote. The LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito was supported by 4.7 percent.

    The weekend survey also showed voters want changes in how the country is run, with 68.9 percent feeling that Kishida should not inherit the policies of the two prime ministers from the LDP who immediately preceded him, with only 26.7 percent wanting the recently elected premier to follow the policy lines of his predecessors Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.

    The approval rating for Kishida's Cabinet stood at 55.9 percent, while the disapproval rating was 32.8 percent.

    Asked about the most desirable outcome of the House of Representatives election, 45.2 percent said they want the ruling party and opposition forces to be evenly matched, and 13.9 percent prefer a change of power.

    Regarding the most important factor in their vote, economic policy was the top answer at 34.7 percent, followed by coronavirus measures at 19.4 percent, social welfare at 16.5 percent and measures for child-rearing and declining birthrate at 7.8 percent.

    When asked whether the government should place more emphasis on growth or distribution in its economic policy -- an issue that is expected to be a key focus in the upcoming House of Representatives election -- 57.2 percent chose growth, while 36.3 percent chose distribution.

    But between economic recovery and the pandemic, 60.1 percent said containing the coronavirus should be given priority, while 38.5 percent said the opposite.

    A total of 69.6 percent of respondents expressed some degree of interest in the upcoming election, roughly the same amount as the 70.5 percent in a Kyodo News survey conducted before the previous general election in 2017.

    The latest survey, covering 792 randomly selected households with eligible voters and 1,654 mobile phone numbers, yielded responses from 628 and 629 people, respectively.

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