December 2006 Nikkei Regular Telephone Opinion Poll (06-16)

December 2006 Nikkei Regular Telephone Interview Poll

Dates Conducted

December 22 – 24, 2006

Methodology

Nationwide poll. See below for age and gender breakdown.

Key Issues

  • Support for the Abe administration
  • Town meeting
  • Honma Masaaki
  • Consumption tax
  • Party affiliation

Background

Three months after taking office, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing declining approval ratings stemming from several recent controversies. In an effort to promote grass-roots democracy, the prime minister’s office, starting with Prime Minister Koizumi, has held “town-meetings” around the country aimed at giving voice for those who do not normally have the chance to participate in the political process. In December it was revealed that the questions asked at these forums were often staged, and those who asked them were coached and paid in an effort to bolster support for the administration’s policies. Prime Minister Abe has vowed to pay three months of his salary as indemnity for the mistake. Another source of dropping approval ratings is the former president of the Special Committee on the Taxation System, Honma Masaaki, who resigned after being scrutinized for his acceptance of a luxury home in an upscale area of Tokyo.

Disclaimer

The Mansfield Foundation is responsible for the translation of this Nikkei Telephone poll, subject to the Mansfield Foundation Terms of Use.

Survey

Q1: Do you support or not support the Abe Cabinet? (N=947)

Support 51%
Not Support 40%
Can’t say/don’t know 9%

 

Q1SQ1: For those who answered “support” in Q1, what is the reason for your support? Please choose as many as apply from the following seven answers. (N=480)

Because it is an LDP cabinet 27%
Good policies 10%
Good sense of international affairs 16%
Leadership 7%
Stability 15%
Can trust members’ personalities 48%
Politically clean 23%
Other 5%
Can’t say/don’t know 3%

 

Q1SQ2: For those who answered “don’t support” in Q1, what is the reason for your lack of support? Please choose as many as apply from the following seven answers. (N=380)

Because it is an LDP cabinet 23%
Bad policies 39%
Bad sense of international affairs 13%
Lack of leadership 54%
Instability 33%
Cannot trust members’ personalities 16%
Not politically clean 5%
Others 3%
Can’t say/don’t know 3%

 

Q2: What political party do you currently support? Please choose only one. (N=947)

Liberal Democratic Party 39%
Democratic Party ofJapan 12%
Komeito 3%
JapanCommunist Party 1%
Social Democratic Party ofJapan 2%
The People’s New Party 0%
The New Party ofJapan 0%
Other 0%
Do not support any party 39%
Can’t say/don’t know 4%

 

Q2SQ: For those who answered “don’t support any party or “can’t say/don’t know” in Q2, if you had to choose one party, which party do you feel is most preferable? Please choose only one. (N=406)

Liberal Democratic Party 18%
Democratic Party ofJapan 20%
Komeito 2%
JapanCommunist Party 3%
Social Democratic Party ofJapan 3%
The People’s New Party 0%
The New Party ofJapan 0%
Other 1%
Do not support any party 40%
Can’t say/don’t know 14%

[Support + preferable parties (N=947)]

Liberal Democratic Party 47%
Democratic Party ofJapan 20%
Komeito 4%
JapanCommunist Party 3%
Social Democratic Party ofJapan 3%
The People’s New Party 0%
The New Party ofJapan 0%
Other 1%
Do not support any party 17%
Can’t say/don’t know 6%

 

Q3: Do you support or not support the Abe Cabinet’s first three months of performance? (N=947)

Support 29%
Not support 57%
Neither support or not support 6%
Can’t say/don’t know 9%

 

Q3SQ1: For those who answered “support” in Q3, what is the primary reason for your answer? Please choose only one of the following. (N=275)

Efforts toward fiscal reconstruction 13%
Efforts toward education reform 30%
Restoration of party membership to opponents of postal privatization 3%
Reconsideration of highway appropriations 7%
Confronting the problems associated with “Town meetings’” staged questions 2%
Elevation of the Japan Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense 3%
(Abe’s) visit toChinaandSouth Korea 22%
Response to North Korean nuclear test 13%
Other 1%
Can’t say/don’t know 5%

 

Q3SQ2: For those who answered “not support” in Q3, what is the primary reason for your answer? Please choose only one of the following. (N=536)

Efforts toward fiscal reconstruction 15%
Efforts toward education reform 18%
Restoration of party membership to opponents of postal privatization 28%
Reconsideration of highway appropriations 9%
Confronting the problems associated with “Town meetings’ staged questions” 11%
Elevation of the Japan Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense 3%
(Abe’s) visit toChinaandSouth Korea 2%
Response to North Korean nuclear test 8%
Other 2%
Can’t say/don’t know 4%

 

Q4: In regards to next year’s budget organization and tax revision, how do you rate Abe’s Cabinet compared to Koizumi’s cabinet? Please choose only one of the following. (N=947)

Positively 7%
Negatively 30%
Hasn’t changed 52%
Can’t say/don’t know 11%

 

Q5: The leadership of the LDP recognized the readmission of opposition leaders to postal privatization after last year’s Lower House election. How do you feel about that? Please choose only one of the following.

Agree 23%
Disagree 62%
Can’t say/Don’t know 15%

 

Q6: Prime Minister Abe has taken responsibility for the town meetings’ staged questions and has indicated that he will give back the approximately 1 million yen value of three months of his salary as prime minister. Do you believe that the prime minister’s actions are appropriate or inappropriate? Please choose only one of the following. (N=947)

Appropriate 46%
Inappropriate 41%
Can’t say/don’t know 13%

 

Q7: The government and the LDP have decided to discuss the issue of raising the consumption tax rate following fall of next year. How do you feel about the issue of raising the consumption tax rate? Please choose only one of the following. (N=947)

Because of the fiscal reforms it is unavoidable 13%
If it puts restrictions on funding for annuities it is unavoidable 35%
Tax rates should maintain at current levels 30%
The consumption tax should be repealed 11%
Other 1%
Can’t say/don’t know 10%

 

Q8: How do you think the economy will be next year? Please choose only one of the following. (N=947)

It looks like it will improve 9%
It won’t change 64%
It looks like it will get worse 17%
Can’t say/don’t know 10%

 

Q9: What party, or candidate’s party, do you want to vote for in next summer’s Upper House election? Please choose one of the following. (N=947)

Liberal Democratic Party 35%
Democratic Party 21%
Komeito 4%
JapanCommunist Party 2%
Social Democratic Party ofJapan 2%
The People’s New Party 1%
The New Party ofJapan 0%
Other 2%
Independent 7%
Not yet decided 10%
Will not vote 1%
Will cast a blank ballot 0%
Can’t say/don’t know 16%

 

Q10: The president of the Select Committee on the Taxation System, Honda Masaaki, resigned after inappropriately moving into an official residence. What do you think about this? Please choose only one of the following. (N=947)

It is only natural 64%
There was no need to resign 6%
Can’t say either way 19%
Can’t say/don’t know 11%

 

F1: Gender (judged by interviewers, N=947)

Male 44%
Female 56%
Unknown 0%

 

F2: Age (N=947)

20s 8%
30s 19%
40s 20%
50s 18%
60s 19%
70s 14%
Refused to answer 2%

 

F3: What is your occupation? Please choose one from the following. (N=947)

Agriculture, forestry, fishing 2%
Employed (corporate employee, bureaucrat, teacher, etc.) 47%
Self-employed (business, engineer), freelance (including family business) 12%
Housewife (without any outside job) 20%
Student 1%
Unemployed 15%
Refused to answer 2%

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