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