Thursday, November 25, 2010

Local Elections Soon!

The futures market at NCCU has Su up 50.9 to 49.8 over Hau in Taipei, Chu and Hu with comfortable leads in Xinbei and Taichung, respectively, and the DPP winning in blowouts in Kaohsiung and Tainan. That's as of Nov 15. Note that this is a betting market -- people are wagering on who will win, not who they will vote for.

If the DPP takes three it will have done well. This was the message the DPP sent out in today's Taipei Times article:

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) yesterday suggested he was “reasonably confident” that his party would pick up at least three mayoral seats on Saturday.

“We can’t be so unlucky as to lose all three closely fought seats,” Wu said, referring to Taipei and Sinbei cities and Greater Taichung as he commented on the eleventh-hour prospects of his party’s candidates at the polls. “If I were to bet, I’d say that we will pick up at least three seats … including at least one in northern Taiwan.”

With the legal ban on publicly discussing opinion polls in place 10 days before the elections, Wu refused to discuss the latest internal polls conducted by the party, but said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “cannot say for sure that they will win for sure in any city.”

It really seems like he is announcing: We'll get three, be happy. I think Tsai and Su Chia-chuan are going to come up short in Xinbei and Taichung, respectively, but do very well. Might make a nice pairing for a presidential run in 2012.
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26 comments:

Rust said...

Personally, I think Su Chia-chuan's campaign in Taichung feels somewhat like Frank Hsieh's initial campaign in Kaohsiung. Hsieh, too, was a outsider only he was from Taipei. His opponent Wu Den-yih was also an incumbant. Taichung is not an overwhelmingly blue area in my opinon either. Just maybe, but he might have a good chance.

Jenna said...

I've been saying for awhile that Su will probably win in Taipei, and be sad about it, because what he really wants is the presidency (as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton did). Tsai will lose in Xinbei and make a run for the presidency.

What I love is that prominent female candidates can have clear plans for higher offices like that, and you hear very little if any commentary on "female" politicians. They're treated more or less the same as their male counterparts. Some people may not like Tsai because they don't like her party, or her platforms or she just rubs them the wrong way, but I don't know anybody who's said "I don't like Tsai, because politics is a man's world" or any number of sexist remarks along the "b*tch", "MILF" and "battle-axe" lines you hear in the USA about prominent women in American politics.

Michael Turton said...

Well, Su picked Taipei on his own, apparently, so he's made his bed. Maybe he's being methodical, using Taipei as a springboard for 2016.

Interesting observation about Tsai, and one of the major differences between US and Taiwan politics is the ability of women to have power without giving up femininity.

Dixteel said...

Hmm...I think it's just Wu's job as secretary general of DPP to be conservative optimistic. But I don't know what the outcome would be, personally.

From what I hear from Su though, I really think he would be extremely happy to win the Taipei mayor. Like Michael said, I think he is being methodical. I think that he is really the type of person whose ambition is to leave some kind of legacy, not just ambition for power to do things etc, and he is confident that he can do something in Taipei. Furthermore, to win an election in this really hostile environment is a real achievement in its own right. Also, for some reason I get a sense that even he thinks someone else is a better presidential candidate in 2012. Don't know for sure though, will see.

My personal opinion though, is that both Su and Tsai might be good 2012 presidential candiate, with Tsai having a slight edge. However, I feel that for DPP to win a decisive battle in 2012, someone who is even more heavy weight than Su and Tsai might be better....The problem is that kind of person might not even exist (Lin Yi-Song seems to be close, but he does not seem to want to get involved in this type of thing, and he might be a bit too idealistic and maybe too old.)

But then again Tsai might just win in New Taipei, and it just seem to make more sense to have DPP control both Taipei and New Taipei, in terms of city planning etc.

So yea, at this point everything really seems like an unknown to me.

Jenna said...

He did make his own bed, true - though I do think he initially picked it on the assumption that he'd lose. I could see it also being a methodical plan for 2016, though I get the feeling that Tsai, unlikely to win in Xinbei, also really has her eyes on the presidency. If she wins in 2012, Su can't very well run in 2016. 2020 is a very long wait...and could well be a year that's unfriendly to the DPP candidate (arguably what happened to Frank Hsieh in '08).

It's similar to the Hillary Clinton dilemma - she's shown that she wants to be President, but 2016 is a long ways away for her, and after 8 years of Obama - assuming he is re-elected, which I think he will be - the US is likely to swing back towards a conservative leader. So Su's future presidency is contingent on either a.) losing Taipei or b.) Tsai losing the 2012 presidential bid. (I don't think he'd resign the governorship if he wins in Taipei).

I agree with Rust, btw. As a Taipei resident, I do see a lot of blue neighborhoods, but Taipei as a whole is not overwhelmingly blue (not as much as Yonghe and Zhonghe anyway). I mean, they did elect A-bian!

The DPP's problem in Taipei seems to be getting green-leaning voters to actually vote: those who do often are registered in other parts of Taiwan and so don't vote in Taipei itself (same problem with Xinzhuang btw), and those who could vote in Taipei often...don't. Not sure why - maybe because they feel their candidate won't win?

Lots of small parties putting on a good fight this year. In '08 I never saw posters for the Green, People First etc. parties or even TSU, but this time I'm seeing them out in force. I have so many leaflets featuring small-party candidates holding adorable animals that it's unreal.

Anonymous said...

Dixteel,

Look at Tsai again. Perfect candidate. Lin Yi Hsiung has been too absent.

Okami said...

I think Tsai could win, but Jenna hits a good point that most Taiwanese voters are apathetic and I get that a lot from talking to Taiwanese to. The Hukou situation also screws things up. I doubt the KMT would even begin to think about reforming that due to incompetence.

Su has a reputation as being effective and being a good campaigner. I don't think Tsai will be able to deal with that as a presidential candidate. Frozen Garlic just rates her as boring and that's what you feel when you see her talk. She's one of those people that grinning doesn't work for. Tsai doesn't seem like someone who would be comfortable running for or as president.

What I'm most interested in seeing is what Su does for Taipei. Chen got a lot of low hanging fruit and Ma followed up as much as his ability allowed. What can Su do as Taipei City mayor to improve his chances at becoming president?

I'm quite interested in what the Clintons plan for 2012. You recently had Harold Ford Jr. out there talking about Obama and then Hillary talking about the TSA patdown security procedures in a less than enthusiastic matter. I think running for the president nomination really taught her a lot about how to campaign as a candidate.

Michael Turton said...

I don't think voters are apathetic, especially in presidential elections. Cold hard fact is turnout remains strong, and people pay hundreds of dollars to fly in from abroad just to vote. Voters may act apathetic, to avoid conflict -- Taiwanese are very conflict avoidant. But except for young voters, Taiwanese voters are pretty solid.

Jenna said...

I don't think they're "apathetic" either - what I do see, however, is a large portion of the population that does not vote because they're not happy with the candidates, disgusted by the system (which, come on guys, compare it to China and y'all've got it pretty good. I've actually convinced someone to vote - or so they said - when I put it that way).

Some real life anecdotes:

- a colleague who does not vote because she's pro-green and her in-laws are deep blue, and if she voted at all she'd get unrelenting pressure to vote blue. (They wouldn't necessarily know who she cast the ballot for, but she wants to avoid the pre-election pressure by refusing to vote at all).

- a friend of mine who is voting this year because she really wants to, but who in previous years has not voted for reasons she never made clear (and I felt it would be rude to pry). She is from Kaohsiung and is strongly green.

- a student of mine who is deep blue and yet says he doesn't vote because "our democracy is a laugh" (he meant "a joke"). I didn't ask - he volunteered this info.

- several people I know who lean green but were so disgusted by Chen Shui-bian's actions that now they aren't bothering to vote until someone they can believe in again comes along.

- several people I know who don't vote because they'd have to travel more than they want to or more than would be convenient - most of them are from the south and lean green.

So it's not that they're apathetic. Quite the opposite. They've very un-apathetically chosen not to participate (or chosen not to because let's face it, the system is inconvenient. People here are routinely amazed by the fact that as an American, I get a.) an absentee ballot and b.) can register to vote in any state I want without much hassle. Taiwanese can change their registration area but most don't because it is, apparently, difficult.

And most of those not-apathetic-but-still-not-voting people are pro-DPP or at least lean green. THAT is the problem, at least in Taipei. (The other problem is that the greens who do vote often do so where they are registered, that is, in their hometowns outside of Taipei.)

Jenna said...

I don't think they're "apathetic" either - what I do see, however, is a large portion of the population that does not vote because they're not happy with the candidates, disgusted by the system (which, come on guys, compare it to China and y'all've got it pretty good. I've actually convinced someone to vote - or so they said - when I put it that way).

Some real life anecdotes:

- a colleague who does not vote because she's pro-green and her in-laws are deep blue, and if she voted at all she'd get unrelenting pressure to vote blue. (They wouldn't necessarily know who she cast the ballot for, but she wants to avoid the pre-election pressure by refusing to vote at all).

- a friend of mine who is voting this year because she really wants to, but who in previous years has not voted for reasons she never made clear (and I felt it would be rude to pry). She is from Kaohsiung and is strongly green.

- a student of mine who is deep blue and yet says he doesn't vote because "our democracy is a laugh" (he meant "a joke"). I didn't ask - he volunteered this info.

- several people I know who lean green but were so disgusted by Chen Shui-bian's actions that now they aren't bothering to vote until someone they can believe in again comes along.

- several people I know who don't vote because they'd have to travel more than they want to or more than would be convenient - most of them are from the south and lean green.

So it's not that they're apathetic. Quite the opposite. They've very un-apathetically chosen not to participate (or chosen not to because let's face it, the system is inconvenient. People here are routinely amazed by the fact that as an American, I get a.) an absentee ballot and b.) can register to vote in any state I want without much hassle. Taiwanese can change their registration area but most don't because it is, apparently, difficult.

And most of those not-apathetic-but-still-not-voting people are pro-DPP or at least lean green. THAT is the problem, at least in Taipei. (The other problem is that the greens who do vote often do so where they are registered, that is, in their hometowns outside of Taipei.)

Anonymous said...

Last DPP/KMT poll was before Yang case, so anything can happen. I think Tsai can win Sinbei, and I hope DPP can win Taichung too.

David said...

I don't think Su Tseng-chang will be the slightest bit disappointed if he wins on Saturday night. Four or eight years as Mayor of Taipei would be much better than possibly losing the presidential election in 2012. Su can also play a very important role in supporting the DPP's candidate in 2012. I'm getting ahead of myself here though. Let's wait to see the result on Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

Su lays very well with the DPP base, but Tsai has the ability to reach out and bring in those light blues who are turned off by Chen Shui-bian style DPP populism. Tai would get the DPP voters anyways... and probably woo some erudite light blues as well. She shares many of the values they are looking for. Educated, well spoken, not crude, personable... almost like the idealized personality of the civil service (which is a blue dominion).

Su plays a lot like Chen Shui-bian and would likely fuel fears in light blue Taiwan-centered waisheng.

Okami said...

I say Taiwanese voters are apathetic because voting does not equal a belief in change or a betterment of their surroundings, just more of will the green guy screw up less than the blue guy type mentality. When you look over the green/blue divide there's not a whole lot of difference there to begin with so it becomes more of a "we've always done it" or similar to backing a sports team year after year even if they aren't winning.

I think the sports analogy is the best because look at Chen Shuibian as mayor. He had 70% approval ratings and had actually changed the city for the better. Yet he lost to Ma, not because he was a poor campaigner or a poor mayor in the voters' mind, but because Ma was on their team and Chen wasn't.

Only rarely do you see a real chance for an effective DPP candidate to win if he is an effective administrator or if the KMT has screwed up so badly that the tiny sliver of voters will actually switch and/or stay home for the DPP to win in KMT areas.

I'd say the rest of Taiwan actually makes up greatly for Taipei's lack of voting because you really can't avoid the candidates or their volunteers like you could in Taipei. If you don't/didn't vote, they are going to know and that could cause problems for you.

Jenna said...

Anonymous is right about Tsai: more than a few people have told me that they prefer her because she is "smart, educated and high class", or that 'Su is a lawyer and A-bian was a lawyer...too similar" and would vote for Tsai in a presidential election but would hesitate to vote for Su.

The fact that Chen was a great mayor of Taipei and such a corrupt President of Taiwan makes me very, very sad. He could have done so much for the country.

Okami - interesting point. I asked some friends recently "What will Ma do for Taiwan if he is re-elected to a 2nd term?" and the general consensus was "NOTHING - and that's perfect. We don't want our politicians to do anything because all they do is make mistakes." Some said they intended to vote for Ma because "he'll do nothing, but the DPP will try to do something, and they will just mess it up".

Which also makes me sad, as an American who wants her own home-country politicians do actually do things.

Not convinced, though, that Su has his eyes set on long-term impact. That might be giving him too much credit. Unfortunately, only time will tell. Tsai, I get the feeling, does have her sights set on long-term impact (not that I can know for sure). I'm interested to see where that goes.

Marc said...

Isn't being TPE mayor the springboard to the presidency?

Raj said...

I'm going to be optimistic and say that the DPP will win 3 out of 5 seats.

Anonymous said...

Are you looking at that right? I see Tsai over Chu on xfutures.org. It's confusing because there are two contracts; I'm looking at the more heavily traded one.

Rust said...

To Anon:
Really? The last time I check, which is yesterday, Chu is widening his lead over Tsai in xfuture.org. But xfuture.org is not 100% accurate though. It got it right on the county executive election, & the legislature by-election in January, but only got 2 right in the February by-election. It might also change wildly just before the vote! Personally I am thinking (or hoping) that DPP might take all 5. Or maybe I am just hopelessly optimistic.

Anonymous said...

i'm not gonna vote cause all these candidates have no solid plans for good and safe biking trails! all have no iq for traffic control .

Feiren said...

David,

If Su does win, I think he will have a tough choice not to run in 2012. He will have won in Pingtung, Taipei County (twice!), and in Taipei, where presidents are made. Tsai on the other hand looks like she will lose in Taipei County because she doesn't have enough charisma to beat milk toast Eric Chu.

Su will be almost 70 in 2016. That is just too old for Taiwanese politics today.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the serious discussion, am I the only one bothered by the blatant ripoff of batman, superman, spiderman, et al in a 朱立倫 tv ad. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that DC comics would endorse a local taiwan candidate...unless perhaps all those superheros have always been KMT old guards / military officers and are campaigning for KMT in their off times in uniform while © Transformers are on duty guarding us against possible Chinese provocations.

Anonymous said...

Su Chia-chuan has made the bike lane from Dali to Tanzi a priority and a part of his platform.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Feiren. If Tsai can't beat Eric Chu then she would be toasted by the Ma Monster.

Ma eats candidates like Tsai for breakfast. Her lack of charisma is a killer.

Brendan said...

Y'all make it sound as though Ma is charismatic. Am I the only one who thinks he looks like a zombie and has all the charm of a mannequin? A zombie mannequin? Clearly he must have some charisma which is lost on me, but exactly because it's lost on me, I don't see it. However, fair enough assessment that Tsai with her lack of charisma would still have a hard time against Ma, who at least seems to still make housewives swoon. For some reason. Apparently Taipei housewives like zombie mannequins.

That said, there's a lot of disappointment in Ma and tentative acceptance of Tsai among centrists, even in Taipei.

Is 70 really too old for Taiwanese politics? I've heard rumors of Lee Deng-hui, who must be nearing 200 by now, considering a jump back into the fray as an actual candidate. This won't actually happen of course but I've heard it out there.

Cashbar said...

You can say whatever you want, but the DPP took a beating today. Not to win Taipei, close but a loser in Taiching ..........

It's more than that.

Where were the really Taiwanese. Are they too stupid to go to the polls? Are they too lazy? Do they not want to be troubled?

I don't care if you lose by one or one thousand votes, when so much is riding on your freedom, someone or some group did NOT get the message across.

I'm sorry, but the sorry outcome spells defeat for the DPP. There are no other words but loser, defeat that the DPP can sleep with tonight.

I do NOT care how close the races were. YOU have winners and losers ... the DPP lost.

It is a sad day for those who truly love Taiwan