Friday, February 19, 2010

China Post By-Election Fun

China Post, the pro-KMT English paper, published a revealing piece on the by-election in Hualien this week. Commenting on the first policy presentations by Hsiao Bi-khim (DPP), Shih Sheng-lang (Independent), and Wang Ting-sheng (KMT), the paper observed:
The independent Shih Sheng-lang, who has close connections with Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi, spoke in the Taiwanese dialect throughout his speech in a brute yet forceful manner. He criticized both the KMT and DPP for “lying” to the residents of Hualien for their own political gains and vowed to fight for an expressway linking Hualien and Suao if elected to the Legislature.

Wang of KMT, meanwhile, spoke in a more scholarly and academic style, saying he would not only fight for expressways linking Hualien to other parts of eastern Taiwan, but also create 3,000 jobs as well eliminate a medical co-payment for elderly citizens.
Note how the China Post describes Shih's "Taiwanese dialect" as "brute". The article is credited to "China Post staff" which means it is probably a translation from a Chinese original. You can thus see what kind of propaganda the locals are getting. Shih is an associate of Fu Kun-chi, the former KMTer who left the party when it wouldn't let him run for county chief, then handily crushed the KMT candidate. The Suhua expressway, a new highway through the mountains north of Hualien that environmentalists have long opposed, looks like it is DOA at the moment, with the central government saying it will merely upgrade the existing highway, and the Hualien county chief set against it.

Meanwhile check out the seriousness of the struggle for Hsinchu:
Ma, meanwhile, was not in holiday mode, either, and made a stop in Hualien yesterday.

He also put a heavy focus on Hsinchu County, spending time there on Feb. 12 and 15. He will visit again on Feb. 19 and 20, campaigning for KMT's Cheng Yung-tang, who is against DPP's Peng Shao-chin.

King Pu-tsung, KMT secretary general, meanwhile spent the last few days stumping for the party's candidates in Hualien as well as Chiayi County, traditionally a DPP stronghold.
Ma, currently the KMT chairman, sent himself out to Hsinchu to campaign in a race that most polls have the DPP candidate leading in -- and then sent his hatchet man to Chiayi, where the KMT can't win, and to Hualien, where it probably can't lose. It looks like a clear signal of what the KMT thinks about Hsinchu (it could lose!). Ma's job approval rating stands at 26 in the pro-KMT TVBS poll. Don't know if I'd want him out there campaigning for me, were I a KMT candidate.

Looking at all four Feb 27 elections (Hsinchu, Taoyuan, Hualien, and Chiayi), the latest TVBS polling indicates that the "certain to vote" section of the populace is rising by small amounts except in Hualien (where it has grown by 10% between polls), perhaps indicating higher turnout, which is likely to favor the KMT in Hualien and probably Hsinchu and Taoyuan as well. The TVBS poll of likely voters says:

Taoyuan (Feb 9 poll): KMT (36%), DPP (29%), Undecided (16%). Interestingly, when asked who they thought would win, as opposed to who they would vote for, voters picked the DPP over the KMT 33-26. Note large component of "no opinion" in the latter question.

Hsinchu (Jan 27): DPP (44%), KMT (34%), Undecided (22). Again, on the 26th voters were asked who would win and the DPP was ahead 39-24. Note large component of "no opinion" in the latter question.

Hualien (Feb 11): DPP and KMT neck and neck at 37% each, with only 13% undecided. When asked who would win, voters said the KMT, 36-20.

Three of the four seats, as the China Post article avers, are KMT strongholds. For the DPP to do well in these elections would be a big step forward.

In other election news, the lack of strong candidates for the KMT in the December elections for the Kaohsiung Municipality prompted some KMTers to put forward current legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, who is originally from Kaohsiung, as a possibility. Wang says no way.
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阿牛 said...

People are especially adept, in large groups, at picking likely outcomes, which is why those electronic election markets work well when lots of people are betting on them. Sure, those gamblers are often making bets *following* polls in places like the US, where undecided are fewer and farther between ... so in Taiwan, the "expected win" numbers are especially important in this case. Their "bets" are worth seriously considering. I'd guess they're right at least 75% of the time (with this many trials).

阿牛 said...

lol, whoops, 75% doesn't fit too well with three by-elections.