December 2006 Yomiuri Shimbun Opinion Poll (06-15)

Key Issues
  • Prime Minister Abe and the Abe Cabinet approval ratings
  • Standard of living
Dates Conducted

December 9 and 10, 2006

Methodology

Yomiuri conducted individual interviews of 3,000 voters in 250 different locations using a stratified two-stage random sample. Of those sampled 1,751 (58.4%) responded.

Background

The poll provides an assessment of the Abe administration three months after its inauguration. Yomiuri indicates possible reasons for voter support, or the lack thereof, with a checklist diagnosing the roots of voters’ feelings towards the administration. Shinzo Abe, succeeding Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, has ushered in a new era of assertive diplomacy towards China and the Korean Peninsula. The new administration has also sought to develop policies affecting economic restructuring; and constitutional, security, and educational reform. The poll assesses these issues, as well as current standards of living, and compares current conditions to the previous year and projections for the upcoming year.

Survey

Q1: Do you support, or do you not support the Abe Cabinet?

Support 55.9% (65.1)
Do not support 30.0% (21.7)
Other 3.5% (3.1)
NA 10.6% (10.1)

 

SQ1: [Those who answered “support” to Q1 only]
Please indicate from the list below up to two reasons why you support of the Abe Cabinet:

Can approve of the government's positions 26.4% (28.8)
Feel the nation is stable 13.4% (15.0)
Can trust the Prime Minister 25.2% (22.9)
Have a fresh image of the Prime Minister 47.0% (47.3)
Can support the administration's economic policies 7.1% (8.3)
Can support the administration's foreign policy 22.3% (21.8)
Because of the coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party 7.3% (5.9)
The current cabinet is better than the previous ones 7.5% (8.1)
Other 4.4% (3.8)

SQ2: [Those who answered “do not support” to Q1 only]
Please indicate from the list below up to two reasons why you do not support the Abe Cabinet:

Cannot approve of the government's positions 40.6% (30.4)
Feel the nation is not stable 22.1% (16.0)
Cannot trust the Prime Minister 19.0% (24.9)
The Prime Minister's political experience is lacking 20.0% (28.5)
Cannot support the administration's economic policies 32.6% (23.6)
Cannot support the administration's foreign policy 11.0% (14.4)
Because of the coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party 17.1% (16.8)
The current cabinet is worse than previous ones 4.8% (6.0)
Other 3.6% (4.7)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2006.

Q2: From the list below, if there are any issues that you would like the Abe Cabinet to address, please indicate as many of them as appropriate.

Economic conditions/job security 52.0% (50.8)
Finance reform 19.0% (18.8)
Tax reform/Consumption tax problem 31.8% (30.0)
Pension/Healthcare/Social security reform 59.3% (59.9)
Child raising support and counter-measures for declining birthrates 29.9% (27.1)
Education reform 26.7% (29.5)
Administrative reformsuch as government employee cutbacks and 18.6% (18.3)
Income disparity problem 21.1% (19.6)
The Yasukuni Shrine issue 6.2% (8.1)
Asia diplomacy such as toward China and Korea 16.5% (20.8)
TheNorth Koreaissue 33.6% (42.6)
Defense and security 10.7% (13.2)
Constitutional reform 5.8% (6.3)
Disaster prevention/Crisis management 8.9% (9.0)
Crime prevention 20.2% (20.6)
Environmental protection 14.1% (14.5)
Food safety 11.6% (12.7)
Other 2.7% (3.4)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2006.

Q3: Which political party do you support right now? (Select one.)

Liberal Democratic Party 40.8% (45.9)
Democratic Party 11.7% (11.2)
New Komeito Party 2.7% (2.2)
Communist Party 1.2% (1.8)
Social Democratic Party 1.0% (1.2)
People's New Party --- (0.2)
New Party Nippon --- (0.1)
Other 0.1% (0.1)
No Political Party 41.7% (36.8)
NA 0.9% (0.6)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2006.

Q4: It will soon be three months since Prime Minister Abe was inaugurated. Do you generally support the past three months of Prime Minister Abe and the Abe Cabinet’s achievements?

Strongly support 6.6%
Moderately support 38.1%
Do not really support 33.9%
Do not support at all 11.2%
NA 10.1%

 

Q5: Do you, or do you not support the past three months of the Abe Cabinet’s domestic policies?

Strongly support 5.4%
Moderately support 33.3%
Do not really support 37.2%
Do not support at all 13.3%
NA 10.8%

 

Q6: Do you, or do you not support the Abe administration’s diplomacy in the past three months?

Strongly support 10.9%
Moderately support 42.3%
Do not really support 25.9%
Do not support at all 10.4%
NA 10.5%

 

Q7: Do you support or oppose readmitting to the Liberal Democratic Party the “rebels” who seceded from the party during the conflict over postal privatization in last year’s House of Representatives election?

Support 11.0%
If I had to choose I support 14.5%
If I had to choose I oppose 23.2%
Oppose 43.6%
NA 7.7%

 

Q8: Do you think that the current readmission issue will be an advantage or a disadvantage to the Liberal Democratic Party in next year’s House of Councillor’s election?

Advantage 9.4%
If I had to choose, it is an advantage 16.4%
If I had to choose, it is a disadvantage 26.0%
Disadvantage 36.6%
NA 11.6%

 

Q9: Do you, or do you not support Prime Minister Abe?

Support 35.9%
If I had to choose, I support 29.1%
If I had to choose, I do not support 16.7%
Do not support 16.2%
NA 2.2%

 

Q10: The government claims that Japan’s economic conditions are improving at a steady rate. Do you feel that they are improving or are not?

Strongly feel that they are 2.0% (2.5)
Moderately feel that they are 19.0% (21.7)
Don't really feel that they are 41.9% (41.5)
Do not feel that they are at all 36.0% (32.7)
NA 1.0% (1.6)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in January of 2006.

Q11: Compared with last year, have your present circumstances become easier, more difficult, or have they not changed at all?

Much easier 0.7% (0.6)
A little bit easier 5.0% (6.9)
Have not changed 68.5% (64.1)
A little more difficult 19.8% (22.8)
Much more difficult 5.5% (5.2)
NA 0.5% (0.4)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in January of 2006.

Q12: Compared with the previous year, has your household income this year (along with taxes) increased, decreased, or not changed at all?

Increased greatly 0.9%
Increased slightly 11.2%
Not changed 56.4%
Decreased slightly 23.2%
Decreased greatly 6.5%
NA 1.8%

 

Q13: Compared with one year ago have your expenditures, like shopping, become more restricted?

Greatly restricted 12.1% (11.7)
Restricted to a certain degree 50.8% (45.8)
Have not really become restricted 27.9% (33.0)
Have not become restricted at all 6.4% (7.3)
NA 2.9% (2.2)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2004.

 

Q14: Compared with this time last year, do you or do you not think that you are less reluctant to buy high-priced goods?

I think so 8.4%
If I had to say, I think so 16.6%
If I had to say, I don't think so 30.6%
I don't think so 40.9%
NA 3.6%

 

Q15: In the following three areas please indicate whether your expenditures this year have increased or decreased compared to the previous one-year period.

S1: Clothing and Fashion

Increased 9.2%
Has not changed 61.3%
Decreased 29.0%
NA 0.5%

S2: Eating Out

Increased 13.5%
Has not changed 57.6%
Decreased 28.3%
NA 0.6%

S3: Travel and Leisure

Increased 11.7%
Has not changed 56.8%
Decreased 30.8%
NA 0.7%

 

Q16: From now on, do you plan to increase your spending or restrict it?

Plan to increase 11.3% (3.1)
Plan to restrict 79.2% (88.5)
NA 9.5% (8.4)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in December of 2003.

SQ: [Those who answered “plan to restrict” to Q16 only]

Please indicate, from the list below, the reasons for restricting your expenditures.

The future of the economy is insecure 30.8%
Can't rely on an increase in income and earnings 56.5%
You think tax increases are unavoidable 23.2%
Pension, healthcare, and nursing present anxieties in the future 49.3%
You don't have the means to make expenditures 35.3%
You're wanting to save for a future goal 34.7%
There isn't anything that you want to buy 9.9%
Just because 3.7%
Other 1.2%

 

Q17: If there is anything in your life that you would like to spend more money on from here on out please indicate those things from the list provided.

Health 43.5%
Eating 20.3%
Clothing/fashion 10.6%
Home/interior 15.8%
Television/appliances 11.4%
Personal Computer 5.5%
Car/motorcycle 6.8%
Travel/leisure 27.6%
Hobbies 27.5%
Skill acquisition/Self-development 9.1%
Education 15.8%
Entertaining 7.2%
Other 0.3%
Nothing 16.8%
NA 0.2%

 

Q18: Recently, as you have been shopping have you or have you not felt that prices have begun to rise again?

Often feel that they are rising 12.1%
Sometimes feel that they are rising 28.9%
Do not really feel that they are rising 44.8%
Do not feel that they are at all rising 11.4%
NA 2.8%

 

Q19: If present Japanese standards of living were divided into five classes, as listed below, what class do you feel you would fit into? (Pick just one)

Upper class 1.5% (1.8)
Upper-middle class 12.1% (13.7)
Middle-middle class 45.9% (51.4)
Lower-middle class 32.5% (26.9)
Lower class 6.5% (4.9)
NA 1.5% (1.3)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in December of 2005.

Q20: Do you feel that the disparity between those who are rich and those who are not rich— in other words, the gap between rich and poor—in present-day Japan has become greater, smaller, or has stayed the same?

Become greater 46.0% (31.1)
If I had to choose one I would say it has become greater 27.8% (24.3)
Has stayed the same 22.2% (33.8)
If I had to choose one I would say it has become smaller 2.0% (4.8)
Become smaller 0.5% (3.0)
NA 1.5% (2.9)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2004.

Q21: Do you feel that the economic disparity between urban and rural areas in Japan has become greater, become smaller, or stayed the same recently?

Become greater 40.9%
If I had to choose one I would say it has become greater 26.2%
Has stayed the same 24.4%
If I had to choose one I would say it has become smaller 1.6%
Become smaller 0.9%
NA 5.9%

 

Q22: Recently cases of corporations employing part-time or temporary employees in order to cutback on personnel costs have increased. Do you think that this is or is not a problem?

Think it is 50.1%
If I had to choose one I would say that it is 25.7%
If I had to choose one I would say that it is not 10.1%
Think that it is not 10.2%
NA 3.9%

 

Q23: Do you feel that after a year Japan’s economic conditions will have become better, worse, or will not change from where they are now?

Become better 16.8% (22.8)
Not change 61.7% (58.5)
Become worse 17.8% (14.8)
NA 3.7% (3.8)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in January of 2006.

Q24: Please describe your current family situation by choosing one of the options from the list of seven below.

Grandparents and grandchildren living together with extended family 20.1% (19.4)
Only parents and children 48.4% (49.6)
Live as a couple 23.4% (22.8)
Single (widow/widower, divorced) 3.7% (3.6)
Single (not yet married) 3.5% (3.5)
Other 0.3% (0.5)
NA 0.6% (0.6)

Figures in parentheses are results from polls conducted in November of 2006.

 

Fundamental Characteristics of Survey Sample

Regional Distribution

Hokkaido/ Tohoku 11.7%
Kanto 29.2%
Chubu 19.4%
Kinki 18.2%
Chugoku/Shikoku 9.8%
Kyushu 11.8%

 

City Scale

Large Metropolitan areas (Tokyo's 23 wards and ordinance designated cities) 22.5%
Large mid-sized cities (cities with population over 300,000) 19.1%
Mid-sized cities (cities with population over 100,000) 24.0%
Small cities (cities with population under 100,000) 23.0%
Towns and villages 11.4%

 

Gender Distribution

Male 44.3%
Female 55.7%

 

Age Distribution (in years)

20-24 4.7%
25-29 5.5%
30-34 6.9%
35-39 8.1%
40-44 8.2%
49-45 7.8%
50-54 10.2%
55-59 12.0%

 

Educational Background

Middle School 13.9%
High School 49.3%
College/ Junior College 35.7%
NA 1.0%

 

Occupational Background

Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing 3.2%
Business/Industry/Service 8.4%
Self-employed 1.6%
Management/ Professional 6.5%
Office worker/Skill industry 16.8%
Labor/Service 19.9%
Housewife 24.0%
Domestic woman other than a housewife 4.9%
Student 1.8%
Other/unemployed/NA 12.8%

 

Household Annual Income (in Japanese yen)

Below 2 million 11.1%
In between 2 and 4 million 22.2%
In between 4 and 6 million 20.6%
In between 6 and 8 million 16.4%
In between 8 and 10 million 7.8%
Over 10 million 5.5%
NA 16.4%

Disclaimer

The Mansfield Foundation is responsible for the translation of this Asahi Shimbun poll, subject to the Mansfield Foundation terms of use (see below).

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