If you don't know where you're goin'Looking at the polls and the candidate lists, the outlook for the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is gruesome. Not perhaps on the scale of the Kim Campbell-led Progressive Conservative Party implosion in Canada's 1993 federal election--but still threatening on a potentially existential level. Okumura Jun lays out some of the numbers predicting carnage (Link and Link). In stories appearing this morning, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, based upon its own numbers, predicts the DPJ on a course to winning only aroung 80 seats (Link - teaser - J) while the Mainichi Shimbun, looking at the data from Kyodo, predicts the DPJ will win only around 70 seats (Link - J).
Any road 'll take you there.
- George Harrison, "Any Road" (1988/2003)
The Nikkei, when it showed its projections to members of the DPJ, got responses like, "I had no idea they were this bad" and "This is different from the sense one gets from the situation on the ground."
DPJ members should perhaps talk to U.S. Republican Party true believers about how reliable their senses of the reality on the ground were in the run up to November 4.
The only rays of light for the DPJ are the undecided numbers. Kyodo finds 48% of its respondents have not yet decided which party they will vote for in the proportional list election, whilst 56% have not decided whom they will vote for in their district. The DPJ and prime minister Noda Yoshihiko have to hope that these voters, faced with the prospect of Abe Shinzo as a prime minister with an imagined mandate, decide that the DPJ is the least bad alternative.
Otherwise, the DPJ is, as they would say in Paris, "foutu."
I will probably never understand what Noda thought he was doing when he made his offer of dissolution on November 14.