Voters in Japan are today responding to Abe's snap-election call 22 Oct
Recent opinion polls have pointed to Abe being returned with a comfortable majority in the wake of the opposition imploding but he has already said he will step down as leader if that doesn't come to fruition.A convincing victory however would raise the likelihood that he will win a third term as LDP leader next September and go on to become Japan's longest-serving premier.
Abe has already led the LDP to four landslide wins since he took over leadership of the party, but turnout has been historically low and the LDP has typically won with about 25% of eligible votes. Others have previously either stayed home or backed opposition parties
As voters head to the polls today, powerful Typhoon Lan has been pouring heavy rain on much of Japan, threatening to lower the turnout again but the BBC reports that the LDP is on course to secure about 35% of the vote, despite its low approval ratings and the unpopularity of the decision to call an early election. An early exit poll by TBS television showed Abe's LDP coalition was set to win 311 seats, keeping its two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-member lower house. Some other broadcasters had the ruling bloc slightly below the two-thirds mark.
Voting ends at 8 p.m local time. (11:00 GMT) and further exit polls thereafter. Final official results will be early Monday morning so we can expect some reaction in Asia trading although an Abe win is mostly factored in with the Nikkei 225 surging to 21+ year highs recently as overseas investors look to get on board the move. In FX markets I don't see any major reaction to an Abe win either.