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Pre-election media polls show tense gubernatorial race

Date Posted: 2010-11-26

Nip-and-tuck is the way major media outlets are viewing Sunday’s gubernatorial election that pits incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima against the former mayor of Ginowan City, Yoichi Iha.

The Okinawa Times, the Asahi newspaper company and Ryukyu Asahi television have pooled resources to try getting the pulse of voters ahead of the election through a two-day telephone survey. In analyzing results, they found fully 20% of potential voters say they’ve not made up their mind which way to vote Sunday.

Relocating Futenma Marine Corps Air Station is a core issue in Sunday’s election, with Nakaima insisting it needs to move “outside the prefecture”, while his opponent is demanding the base be moved completely “overseas or out of the prefecture.” The overseas option preferred by Iha garnered 57% of the votes, while “within Okinawa Prefecture” scored 18% and move to “mainland Japan” picked up 15% of the local poll votes.

Although the bulk of news headlines in recent weeks have evolved around the bases issue, that’s not the electorate’s number one concern. In the survey over the weekend, 49% of respondents said the economy was what the candidates should be worrying about, while only 36% felt the “base problem” was a problem. Analysis of those responses showed that those concerned about the economy tended to support Nakaima, while those worried about the base relocation were backing Iha.

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