Thursday, July 12, 2007

Election numerology

The press is filled with important numbers for the seventeen days of official campaigning. These are a few that caught my eye.

28%, 27% — 21%, 22%: These are the DPJ's and the LDP's poll numbers in proportional representation voting and electoral district respectively, as found in Yomiuri's latest poll. I should also add 33%, 34%, which are the numbers for undecided voters in electoral districts and proportional representation voting. What does it say about the DPJ that after months of good fortune, a poll — admittedly, in Yomiuri — shows that undecideds outweigh those committed to supporting the DPJ?

65%: In the same poll, the percentage of respondents who said that the pensions scandal is the top priority issue.

43%: In the Yomiuri poll, the percentage of respondents who said that the consumption tax issue is the most important election issue (it ranked second to pensions).

4.86: According to Mainichi, this is the discrepancy between the value of a vote between the prefecture with the fewest voters, Tottori Prefecture, with 248,091 registered voters, and the prefecture with the most voters, Kanagawa Prefecture, with 1,205,250 registered voters. The differential is over four for five other prefectures (Osaka, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Tokyo, and Fukuoka). That said, 4.86 is actually lower than the 2004 figure, which was 5.16. And so the balancing between urban and rural Japan continues apace, however slowly.

1 comment:

Kaspian said...

I think this election will be a de facto vote of confidence on the LDP. Judging by the polls thus far I'm cautiously optimistic that the DPJ can come out ahead (though the undecided voters is worrying). Even if the DPJ do take the Upper House, what kind of impact can they have beyond being the opposition in the Lower House now? They already question much of what the LDP does now, and the Upper House doesn't really have the power to stop anything that the LDP wants to pass.

Won't the DPJ need to take the Lower House to have any real impact on politics in Japan? And if so, how good of a government could they be? It seems that the DPJ only has a fighting chance now because so many people are upset with the LDP's bumbling of the pensions, and fear of a hike in the consumption tax. What distinct merits does the DPJ have as a political party that would be of interest to the Japanese people besides not being the LDP?