Thursday, October 26, 2017

Looking at the results #jpnvotes17 part 1

#jpnvotes17 part 1: Women candidates

So here is a preliminary look at the 47 women who were elected from 209 candidates (out of a total of 1180 candidates).  

Liberal Democratic Party 20 women out of 281 candidates returned
RikkenDs 12 out of 54
Kibo 2 out of 50
Komei 4 out of 29
JCP 3 out of 12
Ishin 1 out of 11
Shamin 0 out of 2
Independents 5 out of 26 (with several independents former Dems)

Ikeuchi Saori, the JCP candidate highlighted in an earlier post, seeking a second term, did not get re-elected despite a strong and prominent campaign. She was elected previously on the party proportional list and was listed third this time. JCP only garnered enough votes to return two candidates from the list. She 'just' missed out. The outcome also reflects the fact that the RikkenDs likely took votes from the Communist Party this time. The proportional list is probably the first place to be considered for reform in finding ways to increase women's presence in parliament. Whereas some analysts are calling for the placing of quotas, parties could begin by placing women (only?) on the proportional lists. Ikeuchi was third behind two men. 

In one of the other contests we focussed on, Niigata 4, Kikuta Makiko running as a former Dem/ independent defeated her LDP rival Kaneko Megumi. Kikuta received 56% of the vote, Kaneko 43%. Kaneko was the incumbent single member district representative. Kaneko was placed on the party list (something not afforded to Kikuta this time as an independent), but failed to get elected. She was sixth on the LDP list, behind FIVE male nominees...four of whom like Kaneko were doubling up on single member electorate candidacies and proportional list positions. If she had been laced one spot higher on the list...

We will look at other candidates in detail in coming posts.


Today too, the Tokyo Shimbun ran an interesting article on young voters. Since the voting age was reduced to 18 from 20 last year, much attention has been paid to those 18 and 19 year olds voting patterns. For those resident in Tokyo in particular, it has been a busy time for them with an upper house and gubernatorial elections but this election was the first lower house election for this new voting group. 

The paper examined the votes of five university students, three female, two male.
It asked them how they planed to vote before the election and how they voted after the election, in both the single member districts and party proportional lists. Australian readers will be familiar with the tendency of Australian voters to choose one party's candidate in the lower house while voting for a different party in the Senate. This was particularly prevalent during the heyday of the Australian Democrats. In the Japanese voting system, we have a similar phenomenon, but with two votes determining the make-up of the lower house. 

Blue=LDP, Beige=RikkenDs, Green=Kibo, Mauve=Komei, Orange=JCP

As the picture indicates, three of the students had no particular intention prior to the election. Only one thought he would vote LDP on the list (but undecided on the single member electorate) and only one student had decided on Kibo for both electorates. Halfway through the campaign, their choices had firmed a little with three remaining undecided on the single member electorate, all having pretty much decided on the party list (from L-R: LDP or RikkenDs; Kibo; RikkenDs; LDP; RikkenDs).
When asked where they voted on polling day, L-R: LDP & RikkenDs; LDP & LDP; Kibo & RikkenDs; Komei & LDP; JCP & RikkenDs. This pattern reflects the voting patterns of the 100 or so students I teach (and we study opinion polls so there is a lot of data). Male students tend to have more conservative voting tendencies (hence LDP and Komei) whereas female students will tend to vote a little more progressively (non-LDP for our purposes here). 

The student who changed her Kibo voting intention on the party list to RikkenDs on polling day said so 'after hearing Koike's (Kibo) rally speeches compared with Edano's (RikkenDs) [Kibo] seemed to lack any policy realisation'. A rather astute observation. 

Credit to Tokyo Shimbun for following these students through the process. (Tokyo Shimbun, 24 october 2017, p. 31)