Letters from Taiwan and I about our pessimism. The top image shows the China Times poll that has Ko at 38%, Lien at 30%, and Shen Fu-hsiung, a former DPPer, at 10% with the remainder at no opinion/undecided. The bottom poll is even more terrifying if you are a KMTer: Ko is on the left and even or winning in traditional KMT districts. FormosaNation pointed out to me that KMTers are wailing and gnashing their teeth, but Ben observed that complaining that things are hanging in the balance is a common KMT election tactic.
My own view remains that Shen Fu-hsiung's 10% means nothing. That figure is a protest vote against the KMT. In the end those people will go into the voting booth, stare at Shen's picture, and then mark their ballots for Sean Lien. James Soong, a far more recognizable candidate for KMT voters, took just 4% as the alternative in 2006. My thinking is that Shen will probably get 3-4% and Lien will collect the other 6%. This means that Ko and Lien are actually neck and neck.
That is no small feat when you recall that Hau crushed Frank Hsieh 53-40 in 2006 and then actually increased his proportion to 55-43 against Su Tseng-chang, who ran a much better campaign than Hsieh in 2010. That means that in Taipei 55% of the people are willing to vote Blue even when the alternative is one of the most personally attractive and competent politicians in Taiwan. So don't underestimate the slavish devotion of Taipei's KMT voters to their social identities.
In 2002 Ma Ying-jeou crushed Lee Ying-yuan 64-35, but Lee was a relatively unknown and uncompelling candidate, hence the election scores are anomalous. The vote counts for the other elections are:
KMT 692,085 (53.81)
DPP 525,869 (40.89)
Other 68,135 ( 5.30)
KMT 873102 (64.1)
DPP 488811 (35.9)
KMT 766377 (51.1)
DPP 688072 (45.9)
KMT 364618 (25.9)
DPP 615090 (43.7)
New 424905 (30.2)
It's easy to see that the DPP in a competitive election typically takes 40-45% of the vote, the KMT makes up the rest. The only way the DPP can ever win is if the KMT vote is split between two strong candidates, which is what happened in 1994, when the New Party outpolled the KMT.
Ko is a totally new factor in the last two decades, a strong and nominally independent candidate who is not a former KMT politician. However, his ceiling is probably still 45% of the vote -- and that figure was from 1998. For Ko to win, many light blues are going to have to decide to stay home or make protest votes. Shen Fu-hsiung is just going to have to collect that 10% of the vote. Or the earth god will have to intervene...
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