Monday, April 23, 2007

The beginning of a trend?

Yomiuri reported today that exit polling from Sunday's by-elections in Fukushima and Okinawa suggests showed a pronounced tendency among independents to vote for the DPJ candidates.

In Okinawa, 55% of independents voted for Karimata Yoshimasa, the candidate backed by the DPJ and three other opposition parties, while 36% supported Shimajiri Aiko, backed by the LDP and Komeito. In Fukushima, the difference was even more pronounced, with 65% of independents supporting victorious DPJ candidate Mashiko Teruhiko, with the remainder split between LDP (16%) and JCP (13%) candidates.

While yesterday I said that it is too early to make solid predictions for July, if these by-elections signal the beginning of a shift by non-aligned voters to the DPJ, then July might ultimately prove disastrous for the Abe Cabinet and the LDP. That doesn't mean that the DPJ can relax: quite the opposite. But if independents have begun turning away from the LDP, then the DPJ might have a major opportunity to win big and present itself as a serious contender for power.

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