Photo/IllutrationThe Asahi Shimbun

More voters are now picking the ruling Liberal Democratic Party ahead of the Oct. 22 Lower House election, while the numbers for Kibo no To (Party of hope) remain flat, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

Thirty-five percent of respondents in the survey said they would vote for the LDP in the proportional representation system if the election were held now, while 12 percent chose Kibo no To, led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

Seven percent picked the new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), matching the ratio for Komeito, the LDP’s junior partner in the ruling coalition.

The nationwide survey conducted by phone on Oct. 3 and 4 showed positive numbers for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his LDP while Kibo no To appears to have lost some of its steam.

Among unaffiliated voters, 17 percent said they would vote for the LDP in an election held now, followed by 13 percent for Kibo no To, 7 percent for the Japanese Communist Party and 6 percent for the CDP.

The support rate for the Abe Cabinet rose to 40 percent from 36 percent in the previous survey conducted on Sept. 26 and 27, while the disapproval rate dipped from 39 percent to 38 percent.

Among respondents who do not support the Cabinet, 22 percent said they would cast their ballots for Kibo no To, followed by 15 percent for the CDP and 12 percent for the JCP.

The overall figure of 35 percent choosing the LDP was an improvement from 32 percent in the previous survey.

The ratio for Kibo no To, which was established on Sept. 25, was almost unchanged from 13 percent.

Eight percent of respondents picked the Democratic Party in the previous survey, but the opposition party has since been effectively dissolved.

Many Democratic Party lawmakers plan to run in the Oct. 22 Lower House election under the ticket of Kobo no To. Other former members, led by Yukio Edano, have just established the CDP as a left-leaning force in the election.

The Koike-led Kibo no To rocked the political world when it was established.

Asked if they have high expectations for Kibo no To, 45 percent in the previous survey replied “yes.” That ratio slid to 35 percent in the latest survey.

Those who answered “no” increased to 50 percent from 39 percent.

Edano formed the CDP after Koike said her party would reject Democratic Party candidates who oppose the new national security legislation and constitutional amendments or hold other views different than those of Kibo no To.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said Koike’s decision was appropriate, compared with 25 percent who felt it was inappropriate.

On whether Koike should resign as Tokyo governor and run for a Lower House seat, 79 percent said she should remain at the governor’s post, which she won last year. Only 9 percent said she should seek a return to the Lower House now.

Forty-three percent of respondents said they hope the next administration will be centered on the LDP, while 33 percent want one consisting of parties that are not the LDP.

Among unaffiliated voters, however, 38 percent said they want an administration consisting of non-LDP parties, outnumbering the 26 percent who support one centered on the LDP.

Seventy percent of respondents said they are greatly interested or somewhat interested in the Oct. 22 election, up 5 percentage points from the previous survey. Thirty percent, down 5 percentage points, said they have low or zero interest in the election.

As for policy, 54 percent said the stance of the candidate or party on nuclear power generation will influence the way they will vote on Oct. 22, compared with 34 percent who said the issue was not important for their decision.

Sixty-six percent of voters who do not support the Abe Cabinet answered “yes” to the question on whether the nuclear issue will be an influencing factor on election day.

Forty-nine percent of LDP supporters said “yes” to the question, compared with 41 percent who replied “no.”

Among unaffiliated voters, 51 percent said “yes” and 34 percent said “no.”

The Asahi Shimbun contacted eligible voters whose phone numbers were chosen at random by computer. Valid responses were received from 551, or 51 percent, of the 1,074 voters with fixed-line telephone numbers, and 582, or 56 percent, of the 1,047 voters contacted on mobile phones.

(Fixed-line telephones covered by the survey excluded those in a part of Fukushima Prefecture.)