Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Put A Spell On You...Because You're Mine...

Apologies, but only the most frivolous and shallow of posts today (Editor - Who but you could possibly tell the difference?)

Yestereve's Nihon Keizai Shimbun published a series of graphs that should give pause to political scientists and Japanophiles/phobes in general.

The graphs show the course over time of public opinion polls on the three crucial inflection points of the Koizumi prime ministership:

-the dispatch of SDF to Iraq,

- the decision to dissolve the Diet over the failure of the postal reform bill in the House of Councilors and

- the visit to Yasukuni this year on August 15.

In all three cases, public opinion polls showed a clear majority of voters opposed to the plans of the government. In all three cases, shortly after Prime Minister Koizumi made public the decision to go forward as he saw fit, the positions of the public reversed, with the majority of the public supporting the prime minister's decision.

The writers of this brief article do not even dare try to speculate what the hell is going here. Instead, they opt for a breezy cop-out. They ascribe the phenomenon to -- and I am not making this up -- "magic."

Indeed, how can public opinion be so malleable that the prime minister can sway it by over 20 percentage points in less than a month, according to these graphs, by the mere expression of his will?

Does anyone want to go there?


Graphs courtesy: Nihon Keizai Shimbun
22 August 2006 - evening edition
Click on the image of the graphs to enlarge

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