Friday, July 23, 2010

Pollster Geist

The RDEC has a new poll out on Ma Administration's proposal for an anti-corruption commission modeled on those of Hong Kong and Singapore. The idea was originally a DPP proposal and was blocked by the KMT-controlled legislature when Chen Shui-bian was President. The RDEC, which recently discovered that Ma Ying-jeou's approval rating was 47% compared to a Global Views survey result of 32% (see this Taiwan News editorial for more), announced that 70% of the population supports an anti-corruption commission.

A flurry of new polls out. A longtime Taiwan observer tapped me on the shoulder the other day to ask about the dearth of polls after the signing of ECFA. It was odd, because after the Ma-Tsai debate polls were out in minutes, but there was nothing out there about ECFA right away. It seems to be a tacit admission from the Blue polling organizations, which release most of the public polls, that any poll would not have found public support for ECFA, and they didn't want to create negative publicity for the Ma Administration. Recall that, when the whole ECFA sell-out began, the Ma Administration said it would never sign ECFA unless it had the support of 60% of the public. It never achieved that.

Does anyone have another explanation?

Meanwhile the latest TVBS poll has the DPP's Tsai leading trailing the KMT's Chu in the City Formerly Known as Taipei County, Xinbei City, by a single six points:

DPP Tsai 44 40
KMT Chu 43 46*

The similar poll for Taipei City has the DPP's Su trailing the KMT's Hau by 44-41. Su's support has not budged in that poll, while Hau's has fallen slightly. TVBS so reliably overestimates KMT support that this may still indicate a DPP lead/toss-up in both places. Hard to say. The conventional wisdom at the moment is that Su will win while Tsai will lose. Voters under 40 prefer the DPP, an interesting demographic augury.

The NCCU Election Studies Center does all sorts of polls. Their June Party ID poll shows that over the last year KMT IDers have declined marginally from 33.9% to 32.8%, while DPP IDers have risen by nearly 7%, from 19.5% to 26.2%. Curiously, independents constitute a whopping 43.3% of the poll last year (they lump the independent/no answer) -- but fell by 6% to 37.1%. This appears to mirror the rise in DPP IDers. NCCU's numbers for independents are huge and obviously contain a lot of closeted DPPers, so this may represent not independents rolling towards the DPP, but simply a greater willingness of closeted Greens to come out. Recall that NCCU is the former political warfare college for the KMT. Its political allegiance should be clear.

NCCU's ethnic ID poll finds 52% identifying as Taiwanese and 40% as both Chinese and Taiwanese. Those identifying as Chinese? Just 3.8%. The faux Chinese identity promulgated by the KMT has been a complete failure, and Taiwanese are now working out new forms of ID right in front of us. Unfortunately they don't cross reference any of this by age, education, geographic location, etc.

Their tracking poll on independence from June has corresponding results. Just 11% openly support annexation at some point, while twice that number openly support independence. Another chunk of 23% wants permanent status quo (also a form of independence) and 36.6% want the status quo/decide later. In other words, despite the greatness of the PRC, rising power, etc, etc, 89% of the people would rather not be a part of it at the moment. It also appears likely that the majority of KMT supporters don't want to be part of the PRC.

*argh. Looked at wrong date. mea culpa
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Anonymous said...

'the Ma Administration said it would never sign ECFA unless it had the support of 60% of the public. It never achieved that.'

Just imagine if this little nugget of information had been forced into the international reports around the time of the ECFA signing.

We're not naive enough to expect politicians to keep their promises....but we should at least make an effort to remember the ones they make.

The one exception, thankfully, appears to be Ma's 633 nonsense.

Thomas said...

"The conventional wisdom at the moment is that Su will win while Tsai will lose."

Whose conventions?

Michael Turton said...

Everyone I talk to in Taipei, friends, random strangers, whoever.

M said...

Yes that seems to be the conventional wisdom at the moment. Hao has come in for quite a bit of criticism, but he inherited a difficult legacy from Ma. Su is formidable opponent.
Chu is a rising star in the KMT. Tsai has quite high poll numbers as well, but there is a feeling that her heart isn't really in the Xinbei race. Her latest "I love new" campaign is pretty lame.

Still, I'm not sure the conventional wisdom is right. If the KMT can effectively mobilize the blue vote in Taipei they should still win. The DPP has never polled over 42% in Taipei City. With the exception of the last 5 years, the DPP has run Taipei Country since 1989.

Michael Turton said...

(m) I don't agree. Hau's vote total in 2006 and Chen Shui-bian's in 1998 are separated by only 4,000 votes. If Hau has his normal lackluster showing and Su mobilizes the entire vote, he can win.

I'm just glad that it looks like it is going to be a good showing.

M said...

Michael- you might be right.
Just realized that A-bian actually got 45% back in 1998. Still he was a formidable campaigner and had a solid record in his first term to point to. Still back then Ma was on the up and only managed to beat him by 6 points.

Blues definitely outnumber greens in Taipei City. I still think that Su will do very well to win. The issue of a possible presidential run in 2012 might also end up hurting him.
Still he has a change, if anyone from the DPP can win in Taipei it is Su Zhenchang.