With the election for the president of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) coming up in a month, surveys found Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is being outvoted by Minister for Administrative & Regulatory Reform Taro Kono and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba in their approval ratings. When the vote count was confined to LDP supporters, however, Suga was still leading the vote.
In a poll from Friday to Sunday last week, which was conducted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun of 1,025 adults, Taro Kono won the most vote with a 16% share. The runner-up was Ishiba, who also won more than 16% of the votes but slightly fell behind by decimal points. The Japanese daily did not reveal the specific margin. Following the leading group were former Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida (13%), Yoshihide Suga (11%), and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi (9%).
The approval rating for the Suga cabinet remained pretty much the same from a month ago at around 34%. In fact, the rating remained the lowest over the past two months since Suga took office in September last year. Experts say it is largely attributable to the unmitigated pandemic tolls in Japan.
Among the LDP supporters, Prime Minister Suga was chosen as the most suitable candidate for the new party president, garnering a 20% share of the vote. The incumbent prime minister was followed by Taro Kono (18%), Fumio Kishida (12%), and his predecessor Shinzo Abe (10%).
The president of the LDP is chosen by LDP lawmakers and party members who paid their membership fee for more than two years, each group exerting 383 votes for a total 766 vote count. As the Japanese politics is highly factious, partisan vote often finds itself at the mercy of factional leaders. Pundits say the preliminary survey can have a significant impact on partisan votes.