Global Views' latest survey on the Ma-Tsai election bout is in, dated Aug 23. In head to head combat, it has Ma 39.6% to 38.1% with 77% of those surveyed responding. 23% are playing coy. However, with PFP Chairman and former KMTer James Soong in the race, Ma beats Tsai 35.1% to 33.9%, essentially the same gap between them. This is a slightly different outcome then several other recent polls where Tsai's support falls more than Ma's when Soong is in play. Tsai crushes Soong head to head.
These numbers are more interesting. The idea that Ma, who was busted downloading government funds into his private accounts but given a get-out-of-jail-free card by the court, has more integrity and is more trustworthy than Tsai strikes me as laughable. Tsai's high marks for crisis management are probably reflective of Ma's low marks for crisis management, and of course Tsai stomps Ma on protecting Taiwan's interests. I'd be curious to know how Tsai's lead in explaining things clearly is helping her at the polls. I wish pollsters did a better job of breaking out the data....
The figures for "Maintain the Status Quo" are intriguing. First, Ma gets high marks in that area, which explains why even though voters don't think he'll work for Taiwan's interests, they continue to vote for him. Yet both Ma and Soong are lifelong unificationist politicians (knowing that, who are the freaks who think Ma and Soong are pro-independence and Tsai pro-unification? Somebody must be having fun with the survey). This widespread and deeply ingrained idea that Ma is a status quo politician is in part a tribute to KMT messaging, but also in part to the confidence that many Taiwanese have that their country cannot be sold out.
I still don't see any reason Ma will lose in 2012. But would be interested to hear some thoughtful comments on the matter.
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