Poll: Abe scores lower than Kishida, Suga for pandemic response

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Respondents in a recent Yomiuri survey gave Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his predecessor Yoshihide Suga a score of about five out of ten for their COVID-19 pandemic response, while Shinzo Abe, who led the party before Suga, was given a score of less than four out of ten.

Respondents were asked to give the three party leaders who have steered administrations in the past two years scores on a scale of zero to ten for their pandemic response.

Kishida received an average score of 5.1, Suga got 4.9, and Abe got 3.9.

Questionnaires were sent by mail to 3,000 voters nationwide on Jan. 25. The results of the survey are based on the 2,184 responses The Yomiuri Shimbun had received by Feb. 28.

Of the COVID-19 measures supported by respondents, the first and second vaccination rollouts during the Suga administration were selected by 73% of people and the booster rollout during the Kishida administration was selected by 57%. Multiple answers were allowed.

The results seem to indicate there is a high level of public trust in the vaccines, which the government regards as a key measure in the fight against the pandemic.

Regarding the Abe Cabinet’s ¥100,000 handout, 57% of respondents supported the measure.

A ban on the entry of nonresident foreigners following the outbreak of the omicron variant was supported by 55% of respondents.

The least popular measures were the distribution of cloth masks to every household and the launch of the COCOA contact-confirmation app, both of which were supported by only 6% of respondents.

Regarding whether the government should prioritize infection prevention measures or economic activities, 44% of respondents were uncertain, 38% selected infection prevention measures and 17% selected economic activities.

Meanwhile, 79% of respondents said they have not changed the precautions they take against infection since getting vaccinated, while 14% said they have significantly or somewhat eased precautions.

In the previous poll conducted in March and April last year, 33% of respondents said they would relax their behavior after vaccination, but the latest survey indicates fewer people have let their guards down due to the prevalence of the highly infectious omicron variant, among other factors.