Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Poll Hilarity from AFP =UPDATED=

I don't understand why AFP, the French press group, bothers to station people out here when they can just source their news from Xinhua with exactly the same effect and at much lower cost. Today AFP ran a piece on the polls....
Forty-four percent of 2,011 people interviewed by the United Daily News said they would vote for Ma...

A TVBS news channel poll showed similar results, as Ma maintained a lead of eight percentage points with 45 percent over...

However, Ma and Tsai were much closer in a survey issued by the Taipei-based China Times...
Yes, that's right. AFP ran a piece on the polls from this election, used only polls from pro-Ma newspapers, and didn't mention to its readers (the poor things) that the polls it was using were from papers supporting Ma.

But there is more....
Taiwan polls issued close to presidential elections have a history of predicting the outcomes relatively accurately.

In 2008, opinion polls indicated that Ma enjoyed up to a 20-point advance over DPP candidate Frank Hsieh, and he went on to win the election by almost 17 percentage points.
In 2008, late Feb polling for the Mar 22th election had the KMT up by 28% (UDN) and 26% (China Times), not "up to 20%". In the China Times March 10 poll, the numbers were an identical 26% (UDN had Ma with a 30% lead according to this). They did predict the winner correctly, but underestimated the DPP numbers by 17-18% (and Ma's by about 10%). They way overestimated the victory margin. I suppose you could call that relative accuracy.....

It is quite true that in '04 a number of polls, including the last China Times polls, had the two sides much closer. It is difficult to quickly round up poll data from the 2000 election. Niou and Paolino note:
According to a telephone survey conducted by the China Times on January 20, 24% of the respondents were inclined to vote for the independent candidate James Soong, 23% for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian, and only 19% for Lien if the election were held then.
In 2000 the publicly reported polls were so bad, especially the KMT polls which claimed that Lien had a huge lead over Soong but was neck and neck with Chen, that many KMT voters were misled into thinking that Lien was leading and voted for him even though he had no chance of winning.

This experience may explain the kind of polling that is being reported in the local media for the current election. Apparently many netizens are reporting being called by pollsters who proceed to ask only about Ma and Tsai, and do not mention Soong at all. If these reports are true, by reducing Soong's chances to win, perhaps certain pollers may be hoping that voters will vote strategically for Ma.

ADDED: There is a round-up of current polls here:
To summarize the results, all standard polls show Ma in the lead, with a range of margins ranging from 8 points (United Daily News, TVBS) to 0.7 points (Taiwan ThinkTank). The respective blue and green biases of those three sources seem to show through clearly. The DPP also released its internal polls, which are historically quite accurate, but of course they don’t release the parts they don’t want people to see. With a different methodology consisting of combining polls from over 60 legislative districts, they announced that they expect Tsai to win by 1 point, on a turnout of 78-80% (for more details of the DPP’s methodology, see this report in the Taipei Times.) Finally, the much-talked about xFuture/NCCU Exchange of Future Events has Tsai in the lead by 7.2% (Tsai 49.8, Ma 42.6, Soong 10.7) and this trend has been consistent since mid-December. Exchange of Future Events claims accuracy of 95% two months ahead of 2008 presidential elections and 97.6% on the eve of the election day. 
The "International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan" which operates the website consists largely of pro-Green individuals.

UPDATED: Businessweek (Bloomberg) did the same thing.
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10 comments:

frozengarlic said...

The TVBS and United Daily New polls from 2000 are here:
http://frozengarlic.wordpress.com/survey-results-2/2000-president/

A couple of things about those numbers. First, remember that TVBS was not considered a pro-KMT organization then. Second, I was involved in some polling back in those days. Every night we watched the numbers come in, and night after night the people told us that Lien was roughly even with the other two, not at two-thirds of their support. This continued through the blackout period. Almost everyone who had access to that information thought Lien would beat Soong. It seems obvious now that Soong was stronger, but it wasn't obvious before the election.

John Scott said...

Taiwan is just not significant enough to the news organizations for them to employ anybody actually based in Taiwan.

When absolutely necessary to have a story sent FROM Taiwan, their reporter in HK (whose knowledge of Taiwan is conditioned by the media there) can pop over just long enough to tape a 30-second segment with some famous Taipei landmark in the background behind them.

So annoying...

Hans said...

"Almost everyone who had access to that information thought Lien would beat Soong."

FG, are you saying that Ma didn't lie when he asked the voters to vote for Lien instead of Soong "because Lien's poll was better?" People over the years have claimed the opposite, and not even Ma/King has disagreed.

NJ said...

CTI had a poll on Xinbei City yesterday which KMT lead by 7% and 130K votes. if KMT only win 130K votes there, i think DPP will win the election. the result could be like 2004, razor thin margin win for either sides.

Michael Turton said...


FG, are you saying that Ma didn't lie when he asked the voters to vote for Lien instead of Soong "because Lien's poll was better?"


I don't know if Ma lied, but I do know that the Blue camp issued poll after poll that showed Lien ahead. This affected voter choice of voting strategy and effectively split the Blue vote, thankfully permitting the DPP to win.

Michal Thim said...

"The "International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan" which operates the website consists largely of pro-Green individuals."

Michael, you are quite right about the composition of the committee but there is nothing particularly pro-green on that post, all available sources are taken into consideration. I would say that deserves some credit, does it? :)

Michael Turton said...

I would say that deserves some credit, does it? :

Sure, it was a great post, but since I am not in the media I normally don't conceal the allegiances of information sources if they have them.

Michael

Lorenzo said...

Since this post is about poll reported in pro-blue medias, my comment here should be relevant.

It is sometimes puzzling to me that why there is so much heat generated by Soong's poll. UDN's editorial yesterday clarify it for me. The undertone of that editorial was that Soong would be a trator to his Chinese race if Tsai won the presidential election due to his participation. In that editorial Soong stands shoulder to shoulder with two notorious 'Traitors of Chinese Race': Sangui Wu who opened gate to allow manchurian to come in hundred years ago, and Jinwei Wang, who organized a Vichy government in Sanshai during WWII.

Today in Apple Daily, Kunyu Wu, Soong's speaker wrote a rebuttal. He questioned sharply why Soong is labeled as a traitor to his race just because he joined a democratic election? And why did UDN editorial see Tsai as belonging to a different race?

It makes all clear now. The UDN editorial is playing a race card. Pan-green is a barbarian race at the gate. Let us fellow Chinese stick together to fight them back as we fought against Japanese and Manchurians.

Michael Turton said...

Awesome comment.

frozengarlic said...

Lien's numbers weren't consistently better than Soong's, but they weren't consistently worse either. You have to remember that before the KMT actually lost, a lot of people just didn't think they could lose. The assumption was generally that all of Soong's supporters were vocal and were reflected in the poll numbers while a lot of Lien's eventual support would be mobilized by the KMT's organizational machine so that his poll numbers only reflected part of his support. That turned out to be very, very wrong. As for Ma's comments, don't you expect a campaign manager to put his candidate's case in the best light possible?