TOKYO -- Japan's ruling coalition may cement its dominance in the Dec. 14 lower house election, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party seen grabbing as many as 300 seats in the 475-member chamber, according to the latest Nikkei survey.
The LDP, which held 295 seats before Abe dissolved the lower house last month, appears headed for an easy victory amid a lack of formidable opponents. The party has a solid grip on at least 200 of the 295 single-seat constituencies and more than 70 of the 180 seats that will be chosen through proportional representation, the poll shows.
The LDP is still riding the momentum it gained when it returned to power in the 2012 lower house election. It is on track to sweep election districts in 14 prefectures, including those in the central north, west and south. And it is faring well in the greater Tokyo area.
Junior coalition partner Komeito is expected to keep the 31 seats it held, with an eye on increasing its ranks in the Diet through proportional representation. The LDP and Komeito together are certain to secure the more than 266 seats needed to guarantee majorities in all the house's standing committees, and may even maintain their two-thirds supermajority of 317 seats.
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which held 62 seats, appears sure to win about 10 single-seat districts in such prefectures as Iwate, Chiba and Mie, and is favored to win more than 10 seats in Tokyo, Nagano and elsewhere. The party faces close races in Aichi Prefecture and Hokkaido, where it traditionally enjoys strong support, giving it a fighting chance to win in 50 districts.
In proportional representation, the DPJ is certain to win about 30 seats, the same as the last election, but its overall target of 100 seats appears out of reach.
The Japan Innovation Party will likely struggle in single-seat districts, picking up just a few seats in Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures. While it has an inside track to win almost 30 seats through proportional representation, its chances of retaining a total of 42 is up in the air.
The Party for Future Generations may win about two single-seat districts, but will likely fall short of the 20 seats as it may not be able to elect any candidate through proportional representation.
The Japanese Communist Party may double the eight seats it held. Meanwhile, the People's Life Party could win one or two single-seat constituencies but face an uphill battle in proportional representation, so its seats in the lower house will likely decrease from five.
The Social Democratic Party will probably have a difficult time adding to the two seats it held. And the New Renaissance Party could be completely shut out.
In compiling the figures, The Nikkei combined a telephone survey with its own research. But with 27% of respondents still undecided as far as single-seat districts and 20% saying they have yet to pick a party for the proportional representation voting, the tide could still change before election day.
The survey was conducted via random-digit dialing on Tuesday and Wednesday contacting roughly 126,000 adults nationwide. Roughly 80,000, or 64%, provided valid responses.