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LDP support rating at 24%, Koike's new party at 15%: Kyodo poll

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has the
highest support rating ahead of the upcoming general election at 24.1
percent, over 9 points ahead of a new party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko
Koike, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

In the two-day telephone survey conducted from Saturday, 14.8
percent said they would vote for Koike's Kibo no To (party of hope)
in the proportional representation section of the Oct. 22 House of
Representatives election.

The new party will field some members of the main opposition
Democratic Party in a bid to unify voters against the Abe

The approval rating for the Abe Cabinet stood at 40.6 percent,
down 4.4 points from the previous survey conducted Sept. 23 to 24,
while disapproval rate stood at 46.2 percent.

The latest survey was conducted for the first time since Koike
launched the party on Sept. 25, the same day Abe announced his
intention to dissolve the lower house for a general election.

It also comes after Democratic Party leader Seiji Maehara's
decision to effectively disband his struggling party and let its
members run with Koike's party. In the survey 62.3 percent of
respondents disapproved of the decision, while 28.1 percent expressed

In the previous survey respondents were asked about a new party
being organized by people close to Koike, with 6.2 percent expressing
support. The LDP's support then stood at 27.0 percent and the
Democratic Party at 8.0 percent.

In the latest survey, the Komeito party, the junior coalition
partner of the LDP, and the Japanese Communist Party each secured 4.9
percent support.

The election outcome remains uncertain with 42.8 percent of
respondents undecided.

When asked whether Abe or Koike should be selected as prime
minister by parliament after the general election, 45.9 percent said
Abe and 33.0 percent backed Koike. Around 21.1 percent did not know
or did not respond.

The prime minister is elected by lawmakers in both the lower and
upper houses of parliament. Despite some calls for her to run for a
lower house seat, Koike, a former LDP lawmaker, has said she will
focus on her duties as Tokyo governor.

As for the election outcome, 27.4 percent said they hope the
ruling coalition will win more seats than the opposition parties,
down 5 points, 16.9 percent said they hope to see opposition parties
overtake the ruling parties, up 8.5 points, and 48.6 percent said
they want the election to bring about a more balanced distribution of
seats between the ruling and opposition parties, down 0.7 point.

A total of 465 seats will be up for grabs in the upcoming
election. The ruling coalition currently holds 320 seats in the lower
house, including the one occupied by the speaker.

A majority of respondents at 53.4 percent were opposed to
amending the war-renouncing Constitution under Abe, while 34.0
percent were supportive.

The voters' trend survey, covering 893 randomly selected
households with eligible voters as well as 1,312 mobile phone
numbers, received responses from 611 and 608 people, respectively.
(Oct. 1)