Japan opposition LDP's lead narrows before December 16 vote: polls

Sun Dec 2, 2012 9:03pm EST
 
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's opposition Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) lead over the ruling Democrats and a new group led by a nationalist former governor of Tokyo narrowed with two weeks left to a December 16 lower house election, newspaper surveys showed on Monday.

A poll by the Asahi Shimbun daily showed 20 percent of voters would cast their ballots for the LDP, led by conservative former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, down 3 points from a November 26 survey.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came in second with 15 percent, gaining 2 points and halving the gap from a week ago. The Japan Restoration Party was third with 9 percent, unchanged from the previous survey.

In a survey by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, the LDP scored 19 percent, down 6 points. The DPJ and the Japan Restoration Party each won 13 percent, a 3 point gain by the DPJ and 1 point decline for the Restoration Party.

A separate poll carried out over the weekend by Kyodo news agency showed the gap between the leader LDP and DPJ narrowing by just over 1 point.

The DPJ swept to power in 2009, ending more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP. But its support has slumped over what voters see as broken promises, a confused response to last year's tsunami and nuclear crisis, and unpopular policies such as a tax hike and the restart of nuclear reactors.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

 
Japan's main opposition Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) lawmaker and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is also the leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), attend a debate with other party leaders for upcoming general election in Tokyo November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao