Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party supported by 40% Japanese

Japan's ruling party has the support of more than 40 percent of voters in upcoming parliamentary elections, far ahead of the leading opposition group, according to a newspaper poll published Tuesday.

The Tokyo Shimbun poll, conducted Aug. 26-29, is the latest in a string of surveys showing rising support for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party ahead of Sept. 11 elections for the 480-seat lower house.

According to the poll, 43.4 of respondents said they would vote for Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party for the 300 seats in which voters cast ballots for individual candidates, nearly twice the 23.4 percent support for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

For the 180 proportional representation seats, in which voters cast ballots for parties rather than candidates, 40.9 percent of respondents planned to vote for the LDP, while 24.2 percent said they would choose the Democrats, the AP informs.

The LDP has consistently posted a healthy lead over the DPJ in polls taken since the country's upper house rejected Koizumi's plan to overhaul Japan's massive postal delivery and savings system. Koizumi dissolved the lower house and called elections Aug. 8.

The Tokyo Shimbun poll showed the Democrats lagging behind the LDP especially among women voters: Only 30.4 percent of women polled said they would prefer a DPJ-led government, while 52.3 percent preferred one led by the LDP.

Among male voters, 39.1 percent supported a DPJ-led government, compared to 49.7 percent who said they wanted LDP leadership.

The Tokyo Shimbun survey, conducted by telephone, received valid responses from 3,600 people. No margin of error was provided.

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