The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has dropped to 42 percent, falling below the Cabinet's disapproval rating of 44 percent for the first time since the Cabinet was formed in September, the latest Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found.
Support for Noda's Cabinet fell seven percentage points from the last survey conducted on Nov. 12 and 13. Meanwhile, its disapproval rating has increased by six points, according to the survey conducted on Saturday and Sunday.
When asked the reasons for disapproving of the Cabinet, 35 percent of respondents said they did not have high expectations for its policies, while 23 percent cited a lack of leadership from Noda. Both ratings increased from 28 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in the last survey.
Eighty-five percent believed that Noda failed to explain his own policies and ideas sufficiently to the public. This remains largely unchanged from the results of the last poll.
Meanwhile, 62 percent said Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa should step down, and 54 percent replied Consumer Affairs Minister Kenji Yamaoka should also resign. The opposition-controlled House of Councillors has adopted censure motions against the two ministers.
However, the survey also found that 71 percent disagreed with the stance of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has refused to participate in any Diet deliberations so long as the two ministers remain in their posts.
Forty percent of respondents approved of a proposed plan to finance the social security system via raising consumption tax to 10 percent over the next several years, while 54 percent opposed it. The last survey showed 47 percent agreed with the plan, while 48 percent were against it.
Seventy-three percent also replied the LDP should hold talks with the ruling coalition parties over the issue.
Asked which party they supported, 22 percent chose the DPJ, down from 28 percent in November's poll. The LDP was supported by 19 percent, also down from 23 percent. Forty-seven percent said they did not support any party, up seven percentage points from the last survey.
Approval for Noda's Cabinet fell to 42 percent from an initial rating of 65 percent taken just after its inauguration three months ago. The latest survey showed the Cabinet lost popularity not only among LDP supporters, but also among those without any party preference.
The survey conducted in September showed 61 percent of LDP supporters approved of Noda's Cabinet; its approval rating was also much higher than the cabinets of the two prime ministers preceding Noda. Initial approval ratings stood at 39 percent for Yukio Hatoyama and 29 percent for Naoto Kan.
At first, Noda's Cabinet expressed a willingness to sincerely listen to opinions from opposition parties--a stance that drew support from a wide range of respondents in the September survey, including opposition party supporters.
However, support for the Cabinet among LDP supporters has fallen to a record low of 34 percent in the latest survey. The low approval rating has been attributed to the confrontational approach adopted by opposition parties in passing censure motions against Ichikawa and Yamaoka.
Among respondents with no specific party preferences, the Cabinet's approval rating fell to 33 percent from 53 percent recorded in September.
Only 79 percent of DPJ supporters were in favor of the Cabinet, down from 91 percent three months ago.
The latest survey also showed that for the first time, the disapproval rating for Noda's Cabinet surpassed the approval rating. It took five months for disapproval ratings for Hatoyama's Cabinet to overtake its approval ratings, and just one month for Kan's Cabinet.
64% for keeping female royals
Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents supported an idea to allow female members of the Imperial family to create a new family branch by maintaining royal status after marrying outside the family, with only 20 percent disagreeing with it.
By gender, 61 percent of male respondents were for the idea, with 25 percent against it. Among females, 68 percent supported the plan, with 15 percent disagreeing.
(Dec. 14, 2011)