Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Year-end Elections: DPP makes gains

Lots of bad news this week for Mayor Jason Hu of Taichung. But first, a quick look at the north, where the DPP's Su and Tsai are hot on the heels of their KMT counterparts. The prediction market at NCCU, usually fairly accurate, said that...
On a scale of NT$0 to NT$100, bidders felt the probability of DPP candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) winning the Taipei City poll grew from NT$45 to NT$48 yesterday. The bidding price of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) jumped from NT$51 last month to NT$53 yesterday.

In Sinbei City, DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is making good progress since announcing her candidacy on May 23. Her price has grown from NT$42 to NT$49.43 yesterday.

The likelihood of her KMT opponent, former vice premier Eric Chu (朱立倫), winning dropped from NT$59 to its lowest level over the past two months at NT$49.87 after Tsai announced her candidacy. It rebounded to NT$52 yesterday.
This dovetails with other information, including public polls and previous election returns, that shows that the elections in the north will be tight and difficult to predict. It's going to be a fascinating next few months.

Tsai and Chu are running in The City Formerly Known As Taipei County, Xinbei (New North City). Here's the data from the Taipei County magistrate elections for 2005, 2001, and 1997. Note that in 1997 there was no PPP and an independent candidate grabbed a significant portion of the vote, and in 2001 the New Party was the only Blue party. I don't see a real trend there, except that each party appears to have a base corresponding to about 40% of the electorate. Those middle 20% votes are going to be bitterly fought over.....

  • KMT: 988,739 (54.87%)
  • DPP: 798,233 (44.30%)
  • New: 820808 (48.2%)
  • DPP: 874495 (51.3%)

  • TOTAL BLUE: 576,418: KMT: 543516 (38.7%), New: 32902 (2.3%)
  • IND: 257582 18.3
  • DPP: 571658 (40.7%)
One thing I'd really like is more information on is demographic changes since the last election. Have middle class pro-KMT government workers moved out to Taoyuan, changing the demographics of the county? Has the building boom attracted more light Blues into Taipei County? Or what?

Meanwhile, with the southern municipalities of Kaohsiung and Tainan widely seen as DPP locks, Taichung had been thought to be a KMT shoo-in given the popularity of Mayor Hu and the money being spread around the city due to public construction. But the local government's intimate involvement with organized crime was dramatically highlighted in a hit on a gangster in Taichung city at which four police officers were present (the Liberty Times claimed today that new revelations say 9 policeman were present, playing Mahjong with the target, and the hitter was probably from China). ETaiwan News said (via ESWN, who has video links):
Taichung's convenient geographic location and the business-friendly environment has made the central city a favored location for organized criminal gangs to set up operational bases. The police force is both insufficient large and equipped and law enforcement has never been effective. Murders, shootings, kidnaps and fights among gangsters have been rampant in Taichugn under Hu's administration, but the "Achilles's Heel" has been the failure of the city government to enforce stricter discipline and effectively investigate and crack down on alleged corruption between the police and the organized crimes.

The controversial case of four police officers hiding in a gun shop while the murder took place revealed the dark side of the local police force and the failuure of the city's police commander to promptly report this incident to Hu revealed a grave lack of internal discipline and exposed Hu's powerlessness. The eruption of this scandal coincided with the KMT's nomination of Hu for mayor of the merged Taichung municipality and triggered a plunge in his approval ratings from 56 percent in March to 46 percent and the gap between Hu and DPP nominee Su Chia-chyuan has considerably narrowed even before Su has truly launched his campaign. Su may well take advantage of Hu's woes by highlighting his own robust administrative record in cracking down on crime during eight years as Pingtung County mayor and his experience as interior minister.
Taichung's lawlessness is proverbial, but voters have never appeared to be influenced by the crime rate. The Taipei Times piece on the prediction market noted:
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) continued to lead in Greater Taichung, but the gap is narrowing, especially after the shooting of a gang leader in the city late last month. The market showed that since the DPP nominated Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) on May 23, the probability of the DPP candidate winning grew from NT$35 to NT$37.

The possibility of Hu winning dropped dramatically from NT$77 to NT$67 after Su Jia-chyuan announced his candidacy. Hu’s price further plunged to NT$60 yesterday following the shooting.
However, Hu still has a solid lead, though the DPP claimed that internal polls show Hu's lead had fallen from 18 points to 14 as a result of the shooting. Lots of time before the elections, and I've been hearing some interesting trends that could shape the election here in the Chung.
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Anonymous said...

"but voters have never appeared to be influenced by the crime rate."

This statement is not entirely true. The DPP made gains during the mid-1990's when a series of high profile violent crimes were committed and the newly unshackled media was eager to push sensational coverage of the crimes to the forefront.

The public will likely not be influenced by crime until the popular media turns it into a "crisis".

Michael Turton said...

I would argue that it is not the crime rate or the crime itself, but the collective loss of face that a crime like this entails, that influences the voting public.

Everyone knows perfectly well that organized crime hits aren't going to happen to them, and that the lawlessness of Taichung means a pleasant anarchic local atmosphere -- unlike the regimented land of Taipei. it's like Switzerland up there...

Anonymous said...

9 years of Hu, little has been accomplished.

Traffic safety? Pedestrian safety? Two areas that Taichung is in dire straits to address ... nothing. Public transportation, no progress. Nothing.

Sure they stick some poor sucker in the middle of the road waving at traffic, as it zooms past without a bit of notice, totally worthless ... just like the "Red Guard" swat team that he marched into Taichung ... all for show.

Pollution; Disgusting and nothing is being done to help improve the situation. Yeah, a campaign to turn in your neighbor for smoking motorbikes and cars ... ha!
The rivers and streams surrounding Taichung are deplorable and the open sewers are something out of the middles ages ... nothing is being done. Nothing.

Hu has skated by without addressing anything. What does he care? His retirement will be mostly likely spent in some different place and climate anyway.

Hu is a showman first and the position of mayor of Taichung is beneath him ... having to deal with the lowly Taiwanese, yuk! The kmt will owe him big time for this sacrifice.


1. Why would Hu attend a known mafia leaders funeral? Like the guy was some sort of philanthropist ... donating some blood money makes him a sensitive guy in Hu's opinion. Strange and suspect thinking?

2. What were the cops doing hanging out with a known mafia guy when he gets offed? Not the first time they've had tea and mahjong together it's understood. Suppose they were uncover? Ha!

3. The "chief" of police waits 5 days before informing Hu of the incident ... ? Taichung knew about the incident an hour after it happened. I have ocean front property in Arkansas to sell you too.

4. Students beware; Hu operates with a strong hand should you speak out against him in public. He will ruin your college education and/or cause your father to kow tow in front of him as a true Mandarin would require.

5. What are Hu's current real estate holdings in Taichung? Are there joint venture partners?

Some would say Hu was over qualified for the position as major of the central Taiwan city. But it (kmt) is what has been required of him ... a glib, experienced politician who follows the party line to the letter and slick enough to do the job for them without breaking a sweat. Knowing where the bones are buried is helpful.

No one strong enough to stand next to him, he'll probably continue his farce for another term. A pity.

Meanwhile, people in Taichung have zero public service, out of control traffic, no enforcement, pollution of a backward third world country and a mayor who sleeps with the mob

Michael Turton said...

Yes but all that will be sterilized by massive vote buying.

Sage said...

I reckon you get what you pay for.

The sheep will follow the shepherd to the slaughter ...

"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

Mark said...

Four or five years ago while entertaining some friends from the United States, one them asked me take him around to a local police station in Taichung.

This particular friend just happened to be the chief of police in his town back in Ohio. He wanted nothing more than to introduce himself to his counterpart in the local police station and maybe drink a little tea.

In both places, when I introduced this gentleman the officers present wanted nothing to do with him. Not even the offer to sit down for a cup of tea. Ya think they might have been wanting to avoid exposure of anything? Same result in two precincts...

Sage said...

Nothing that sinister. I would suspect the local "cops" were just too intimidated to meet a "real" policeman and didn't know how to act ... and a chief none the less.


Mark said...

I suspect you're probably right, Sage. However, just a few days later on that particular trip we were escorting our guests back to the airport and we had to spend the night in a motel some distance away from the airport nearer to Taoyuan City to accomodate their early morning departure.

That night shortly after our arrival I went back down to the kiosk outside to get an internet cable for my computer. I was shocked to see 3 or 4 police cars come screaming over, put a sign on the kiosk and rope it off in what was evidently a raid.

A while later I went back down again because I still needed my internet cable. I assumed the police had left as I didn't see their squad cars. Knocking on the door, I opened it and went it only to see a couple of cops standing over the attendant, who had taken a big wad of money out of the cash register/drawer and was in the process of counting it. I received my cable and quickly and quietly made my exit. Hmmm.... wonder what I witnessed?

Anonymous said...

No offense, but Jason Hu is going to lose this election and go and retire to the US, most likely Los Angeles. It's how they all are. It's just a game to them, and they have no skin in it themselves.

Sage said...

"cops standing over the attendant, who had taken a big wad of money out of the cash register/drawer and was in the process of counting it."

In the movies they'd call it a "shake down". Here it's called conducting business.

"No offense, but Jason Hu is going to lose this election and go and retire to the US"

None taken here ... would be nice to see them all depart for "home" China or Commerce City, Ca.

It matters not where they go, just that they are gone. :)

Taiwan Echo said...

Anonymous: "No offense, but Jason Hu is going to lose this election and go and retire to the US, most likely Los Angeles. It's how they all are. It's just a game to them, and they have no skin in it themselves."

Yea. But that conveniently removes Hu -- the one and only one KMT politician who has the power to threaten Ma Ying-jeou's position in seeking 2012 for KMT.

So who is the biggest winner here ? If sacrificing a gangster-infested Taichung can ensure the path to the president seat, why not ?

Now, lets re-think who or what organization could possibly arrange the killing ...

Taiwan Echo said...

In United Bamboo -- KMT's Underground Assassination Sector:

Chen Chi-li said in the court that the (KMT) government wanted him to organize the United Bamboo Gang, and the sole purpose is to kill those rebels. They (KMT) thought the anti-government people are weak, so it's possible to gather gangsters to organize United Bamboo Gang to handle these people.

And don't forget how Lin Yi-Hsiung's family got murdered mysteriously when Lin's home was highly guarded by KMT's secret service.

Anonymous said...

it's time for taichung resident to really ponder if they want their mayor to be a photo publicity or really someone looking after their welfare.
it sad to note that resident in kaohsiung feel proud of their city; I ask this question: are you proud to say that you are a living in taichung?
Taichung has been stagnant for the past 8-9 years. If mayor Hu say that he will pursued the principles of "broken windows ", I say that this principle need absolute determination to pursue policies which might initially antagonist some supports. It sad to say the mayor HU only do what other people wish him to do. He is obsessed with his image as photogenic mayor of Taichung.
On November the people of taichung will have the chance to decide what the want as mayor, So people of Taichung choose wisely for you have to wait another 4 years if you make the mistake.