Shigeru Ishiba Seen as Best Choice for LDP’s Next Leader in Poll, with Support Strong among Older Voters

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Former LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba

Shigeru Ishiba, former secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was deemed the most suitable choice for the next LDP president in a nationwide poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun, with 20% of respondents backing him.

Ishiba was followed by former Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi at 17% and digital transformation minister Taro Kono at 12%.

In the previous LDP presidential election in 2021, which Fumio Kishida won to then become prime minister, Kono also ran, and both Ishiba and Koizumi supported Kono.

Kishida’s term as LDP president is set to expire in September 2024. In the poll, conducted from Friday to Sunday, respondents were asked to choose from among 11 LDP politicians.

Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was fourth in the poll, supported by 8% of respondents, followed by Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi at 7%, and Kishida in sixth at 4%, tied with Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.

Eleven percent said they found no one suitable among the listed politicians.

Among LDP voters, 18% chose Ishiba, 15% backed Kono, and 14% went for Koizumi, with Kishida coming in fourth at 10%, alongside Takaichi. Among respondents with no party affiliation, Ishiba and Koizumi were tied for the top spot at 20%.

Ishiba did particularly well with older respondents, scoring 27% of the vote of those age 60 and older. Koizumi was in a distant second for the group at 16%. Among those age 40-59, Ishiba was first at 20%, followed by Koizumi at 15%, and Kono at 13%. Koizumi topped the 18-39 age group with 20%, followed by Suga at 17%, Kono at 14%, and Ishiba at 9%.

A similar poll was conducted in September 2021 after then Prime Minister Suga said he would step down. The poll listed 10 LDP members, among whom Kono came in first at 23%, followed by Ishiba at 21%, Kishida at 12% and Koizumi at 11%. The rankings were the same for LDP voters.

After the poll, Kono announced his candidacy for the LDP presidency, and Ishiba and Koizumi joined his camp, but Kono lost the race to Kishida.