Cabinet support rate dips to 53% after ministers quit

Cabinet support rate dips to 53% after ministers quit

Fifty-three per cent of eligible voters support the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey taken shortly after two female Cabinet members resigned over separate scandals.

The latest figure represented a drop of nine percentage points from a similar poll conducted in early October. The disapproval rating for the Cabinet rose to 37 per cent from 30 per cent in the previous survey.

The latest poll was taken on Friday and Saturday, a few days after the resignations of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi and Justice Minister Midori Matsushima.

September's Cabinet reshuffle helped raise the Abe administration's support rate, partly due to his appointment of five women to the Cabinet. However, the departure of the two Cabinet members served to lower the approval rating.

Seventy-three per cent of respondents said it was appropriate for Obuchi to resign over the lack of transparency in the financial dealings of one of her political support groups. Slightly over half of respondents, 53 per cent, agreed with Matsushima's resignation after an outcry over the distribution of uchiwa fans to her constituents.

Asked if Obuchi should explain the political funds issue in the Diet, 76 per cent said yes, indicating the public feels it had not received a sufficient explanation of what transpired.

Views were split over whether Abe bears "significant responsibility" for the problems involving the two ministers, with 48 per cent saying yes and the same percentage saying no.

The public's expectations for the Cabinet's plans to promote women declined to 56 per cent from 63 per cent, probably influenced by the resignation of the two female ministers.

The Abe Cabinet's economic policies were viewed positively by 41 per cent of respondents, down from 51 per cent. Forty-four per cent expressed a negative view of the Cabinet's plans for the economy, up from 39 per cent.

Twenty-six per cent approved of increasing the consumption tax rate to 10 per cent next October, while 71 per cent opposed this move.

Support for the Liberal Democratic Party was largely unchanged at 42 per cent, compared to 45 per cent in the previous survey, while the Democratic Party of Japan's support rose from 4 per cent to 9 per cent.

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