Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Taipei Mayoral Election polls

FormosaNation sent around these two images. He's bullish about the prospects of Ko Wen-je in Taipei against Lien Chan's son Lien Sheng-wen (Sean Lien) and has been twitting Ben Goren at 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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Anonymous said...

If Lien wins, I give up all hope of any positive future for Taiwan.

Anyone who care about a free Taiwan, anyone with even 1 iota of braincell capacity should read the pro-china crap that his father has been proselytizing.


I believe the citizens of Taipei are aware and will not vote Lien in as mayor because they know the consequences.

Anonymous said...

You're right to be cautious, but it also bears mentioning that electorates are never static. The country changed on the Republicans between 2004 and 2012 as their voters passed away and Democrats replaced them, and the same thing is slowly happening to the blues up here, not only because of age differences but also because all the people who've moved up here from the south have brought their political views with them too.

Michael Turton said...

I sure hope so. I think we're an election away from that demographic effect, though.


John S said...

There's one factor of electoral politics in Taiwan for which I never got an entirely satisfactory explanation. I also wonder whether any of the political scientists at the universities are studying its causes and effects.

It is the fact that so many people who work in Taipei/Taipei county are not registered to vote there. Almost all of the people I know who live and work in Taipei, but who are from the south, cannot vote in Taipei. If they want to vote, they have to go to their home districts. Many of them do take a day or two to make the trip home, vote and visit family, but it would be interesting to know how many do this.

What apparently happens is that most of the southerners living in Taipei just do not vote, which means that they are not being represented anywhere, not even in their home districts. So this behavior has an effect not only on elections in Taipei, but also on elections in the south.

What I don't understand is why more of these people don't register a Taipei address, so they can vote in Taipei. Is there some reason they can't? Some disadvantage for doing so? Is it because their parents get some kind of advantage from keeping their children registered at the family home? Are there some kind of tax incentives/disincentives involved? Is it that people are waiting until they can afford to stop renting and buy a house, condo or apartment in Taipei to change their registered address?

Whatever the reasons, I can imagine that the KMT is benefiting from the present situation, and would not want to see it change.

les said...

@JohnS. If the number of persons registered at any domicile drops below a certain number you lose the rights to the household registration.

I can't think of anyone less qualified to run a city like Taipei than Sean Lien. What has he ever done except make sure that silver spoon didn't fall out of his mouth? No doubt the deep-blue will however elect him. They wouldn't care if he was syphilitic pedophile with two heads and a tail.

STOP Ma said...


Ma couldn't manage himself out of a wet paper bag.
Sean Lien couldn't manage himself out of a soap bubble.

But a candidate less qualified to run a major city?

Rob Ford of Toronto has him beat.

Anonymous said...

People tend to fold back to the party on election day because they're worried about the political implications of the other side winning. This was pretty clear in 2010, when a Su victory would've had pretty far reaching political implications given he was a major DPP figure with presidential ambitions. A Ko victory really doesn't carry that weight. It'd be a black eye for the KMT and the Lien family, but not an immediate or direct boost to the DPP in general or any of its figures in particular, so I don't think Sean Lien's campaign can rely on that phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

I would like to believe that Ko could win, but I see no reason to believe that the core KMT voters will be sufficiently motivated to abandon any KMT candidate in Taipei. My reasons are not novel, just the usual. 1. Too many military personnel, teachers, and civil servants want to retire on lavish monthly pensions while they are still relatively young. 2. Those who benefit from real estate investments fear that one day Taiwan's taxes on real estate will be raised to a degree that this investment path is blocked to them. 3. Too many "Taiwanese" who have foreign residency or citizenship fear that one day their privileges (health care, retirement benefits, exemption from military service for their sons, etc.) will be taken away. It's simple--the KMT will not change much here. The DPP might not either, but were they ever to garner more than 50% of the legislators, it could happen.

I just don't see any change in the cards. Ma, Hao, Lien, etc. Three boys who would never be able to get through school or land a job without great amounts of help, but because they can relieve peoples' worries about having privileges taken away, they get elected.

The most tragic part about this is that most Taiwanese still seem to believe that the worst that could happen would be something like Hong Kong. No, Taiwan's value to China is military--the Taiwan Straits become internal waters, the deep water ports and military airfields get turned over to the People's Liberation Army, and the entire island becomes China's front line. Tragic, but that's what happens when you vote for incompetents whose patriotism is to another country, who profit greatly from that "patriotism," and when you eliminate your military--training less than what is given to elementary school boy scouts, weapons that are antiquated or inoperable, and generals who retire, take their pensions, and move to the enemy's country...Tragic...