Friday, April 27, 2018

Taipei and Taichung election Polls


My man Donovan published in the News Lens today on the mayoral race in Taipei. He observes:
There is, however, something very surprising I haven’t seen publicly commented on that may be (or should be) a factor internally in the party: a closer look at the numbers in the last five to six polls in a two-way race between Ko and the KMT’s Ting shows Ko’s lead at 10.4 percent versus 15 percent in a three-way race.

Even more curious is where Yao is taking the votes from: mostly from the KMT’s Ting at an average of 9 percent and only taking an average of 5 percent from Ko’s base. However, though poll numbers vary, all the polls are fairly consistent in this respect – Yao is taking more votes from Ting than Ko.

One reason the DPP’s Yao might take more votes from the KMT’s Ting is that moderate DPP voters dislike Ko, and given a two-way race they would vote against the incumbent mayor Ko, but given a DPP candidate they would vote with their party.

Another possibility is that having both DPP and KMT challengers boosts Ko’s credibility as an independent, keeping some voters loyal to Ko over Ting, who is a lackluster candidate that has failed repeatedly in past mayoral runs.
Donovan is referring to these two polls from the link in the News Lens piece:

In the poll above, current mayor Ko leads the KMT's Ting Shou-chung 47% to 37%. That's no surprise. Ting has longtime name recognition, but he's from a previous generation of politicians who came to prominence in the 1990s when the KMT and DPP were first attempting to institute credible internal polling, as the KMT party pollster.

However this next three-way poll...

...has Ko at 43%, Ting at 28%, and the DPP's Pasuya Yao (Yao Wen-zhi) at 14%. When Yao enters the race, he takes ~4% from Ko, but 9% from Ting.

This suggests, as Donovan points out, that either DPP voters are voting for Ting because he is not altogether bad, and they dislike Ko --strongly, recall that the DPP city councilors in Taipei largely support Yao and have demanded that the DPP run a candidate. However, when Yao enters, those votes shift to him. Or that having three candidates makes Ko look more independent. I myself lean toward the first explanation.

Ko is strongly supported by the young. Today on the train I sat down next to a young women of 20, who promptly opened up a bag and pulled out a book on populism, Robert Evan's book on vices in the development of civilization, and Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow before selecting the last to read. That signaled to me she might be interesting, and sure enough, she was full of political opinions, including that Ko was strongly supported by the young. I asked her what concrete achievements of his she could point to, and she instanced the athletic games from last year. She also went right down the checklist of good points: he's not a career politician, he's learning fast, and so forth.

Donovan also directed me to this Storm Media piece polling the Taichung mayor race....
Who will win?
Lin Chia-lung: 40.6%
Lu Shiow-yan: 20.1%
Dunno: 39.4%

Who do you support?
Lin: 31.9%
Lu: 23.7%
Won't vote/spoiled ballot: 8.6%
Dunno: 35.7%
That's very surprising to me, but our growing population is likely adding more greens than blues, which will help Lin. Lu, Donovan said, seems like a lackluster candidate. However, it is early, and the undecideds could easily swing the election to Lu. Much will depend on whether all the money the DPP is shelling out for public construction will swing the factions to the DPP. I expect Lu's mainlander background doesn't help her in Taichung either.

As for the referendum protest  of Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian stirring up trouble... years ago I wrote:
Were Chen ever to get out, he would go back to seeking the limelight, encouraging splits within the DPP in order to aggrandize his own faction and friends, and so on. Both the China Post and Taipei Times pieces essentially say the same thing even though they disagree. When Chen gets out he is going to re-enter pan-Green politics, sucking up time, effort, resources, and funds that could be going directly to the DPP and meaningful and important pro-Taiwan groups and causes. He'll be constantly pursued and goaded by the pro-Blue media for inflammatory quotes, further dividing rather than uniting.
...all so predictable. In addition to being a pointless distraction, the referendum law protest is legitimating the kind of thinking embodied in Judith Norton's recapitulation of KMT talking points at TNI last week. This one is especially annoying:
Given that Tsai’s administration could perceive U.S. policy now favors Taiwan over the PRC, it could hold a national referendum on a sensitive issue to deepen democracy, protect human rights, and determine Taiwan’s future, something that is an established component of the DPP political agenda and mentioned in President Tsai’s major speeches. Holding a national referendum could cause a further deterioration in cross-strait relationship because the PRC perceives it as “separatist activities”, which, based on the Anti-Secession Law, could justify an aggressive response, making the Taiwan Strait a potential military flashpoint.
President Tsai and her DPP passed a law making it impossible to hold a referendum on "Taiwan's future". There will not be such a referendum during her presidency, nor will she waste time on the other two. Perhaps some private body might push for one, but so far the only referendum on human rights in the pipe is from hate groups trying to roll back human rights for people whose sexual choices they disapprove of.

But Chen et al's referendum law protest feeds fears inside the Beltway of ZOMG REFERENDUM. This is the kind of thing I feared Chen might do in the 2016 election. Luckily the KMT left him locked up...
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

Michael (1/3)

FYI Financial Times' Taipei-based correspondent (yay!) Edward White had a nice, positive articles about Taiwan lifestyles, notably the beautiful natural environment outside the cities and the awesome surfing along the east coast.

He writes today on Taiwan surf lifestyle in the FT Weekend House & Home section: a nice, non-political article to highlight the positives of life in Taiwan. Aside from one lame and unnecessarily pessimistic paragraph at the end, and the weirdly out of place comfort women reference, it's otherwise an excellent article and good for improving everyday exposure for Taiwan internationally as a cool place to live and visit, distinct from China (and anywhere else in Asia for that matter).

Taiwan: Little Island with a Big Heart
Edward White, Financial Times
Weekend FT, Apr 28 2018

Driving around a tight bend on a road carved high into cliffs on Taiwan’s east coast, the first sight of the vast Pacific Ocean instantly hijacks the attention. Tracking lines of swell stretching into a sapphire horizon, it is a challenge not to drift across the median line.

This highway connects small industrial and fishing hubs dotted between the island’s northern Yilan and central Hualien counties. As I dragged a beaten-up white Ford around its corners in pursuit of uncrowded surf over the past few years, I have often thought about a compatriot who travelled this road some 70 years earlier.

Allan J Shackleton was a rare western witness to the chaotic and murderous early days of the Kuomintang’s rule of Taiwan. The New Zealand-born UN officer was here in the late 1940s, when Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Chinese Nationalist army fled to the island from Mao Zedong’s China, quickly seizing control of the government and industries and brutally cracking down on any perceived opposition.

In his memoir — which would go unpublished for 50 years, deemed too politically sensitive during the cold war — Shackleton recounted a perilous journey along these same clifftops. After cascading boulders and slips washed away the road, he was forced to disembark his bus and walk part of the way along a narrow precipice. Today, the road offers the same hair-raising moments and striking views, but Shackleton would struggle to recognise much else of Taiwan.

Between his travels and my own, rapid industrialisation and economic growth — the Taiwan Economic Miracle, or Taiwan Qíjì — has transformed the island. Despite being the size of the Netherlands, with meagre natural resources and languishing in diplomatic isolation as the rest of the world pursued relations with Beijing, in the past 50 years exports surged from less than $1bn annually to the same figure on a daily basis and GDP per capita grew from $320 to nearly $25,000 today.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


For surfers, the island sits neatly in the crosshairs of the region’s major weather systems. The freezing Siberian storms that deliver snow to Japan in winter send strong winds and consistent waves across the East China Sea to Taiwan. Rising water temperatures in the Pacific in summer generate typhoons, which, depending on their proximity and direction of travel, can produce waves anywhere from two to 20 feet high. An unfortunate fact is that a deadly storm wreaking havoc on one part of the Pacific can deliver near perfect waves to another.

While the optimal swell size and wind direction is tough to pick more than a few days out, Taiwan’s myriad sandy beaches, rocky points, river mouths and tetrapod-lined harbours draw surfers from across Asia; I have met everyone from Japanese businessmen enjoying the warmer waters to French engineers seeking a respite from a nuclear plant in Shenzhen and, of course, bankers from Hong Kong.

Surfing — along with more accessible pastimes like cycling and hiking — is popular among the Taiwanese, too. Though slower growth and stagnated wages means most Taiwanese are pessimistic about the economy, many will regularly don the latest activewear — brands from Nike to North Face are made here — and head to the hills or the ocean.

My own obsession with the coast has meant that in three years I have not yet made it to most of Taiwan’s famed outdoor attractions — although I am assured Sun Moon Lake, high in the central mountain range, and the fast-flowing rapids and dramatic marble cliffs of Taroko Gorge, to the east of the island, are well worth a visit.

But escapes to other nooks have provided glimpses into a culture often mischaracterised and oversimplified as an extension of China’s. Passing through townships dotted across Yilan, about an hour from Taipei, you can find small Vietnamese restaurants serving bowls of delicious pho. The women running these stores reflect a legacy of about half a million south-east Asian migrants, many of whom have arrived in the past few decades. Some work as live-in caregivers, others are migrant brides, and almost all are sending money to relatives back home in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Anonymous said...

(4/5) (Longer than your word limit...)

Travelling further south to Hualien and Taitung you come across festivals, food and shops showcasing the Amis, one of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes. The marginalised minority — who have lived on the island for millennia, outdating various claims from Chinese dynasties, as well as Dutch and Japanese colonisers — are making renewed attempts to claim back land and lost languages.

There are signs of promising social reform. President Tsai issued an official apology to the country’s indigenous people in 2016, and with strong press freedom and improved rights for migrants, Taiwan has the potential to become a beacon for other parts of Asia, where there is a worrying regression to authoritarianism.

Taiwan’s 50 years as a Japanese colony until 1945 have also left their mark; from sashimi served in fishing villages to bridges and tunnels across deep gorges, to the courteous and friendly disposition of the people. But the generally positive assessment of stability, civility and development under Japanese rule, compared with the 38 years of martial law under the Kuomintang, should be tempered by memory of the experience of thousands of ama — the “comfort women” forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the second world war.

Travelling outside the major cities, accommodation may lack sparkle though quibbles are usually swiftly outweighed by the genuine friendliness of the locals. For the more intrepid explorer trying to escape the rain that punctuates almost any trip, you might look for shelter around the never-used public buildings that sit dormant in various stages of completion and decay in public spaces across the island. These long abandoned wenzi guan — or mosquito hotels — are often examples of the mismanagement of public funds and the blurred lines between politics, business and the underworld.

Another place to wait out the rain is at one of the thousands of temples peppered across the island. These mostly Taoist shrines are reminders that although Taiwan is in some respects one of Asia’s most culturally liberal places — it is, for instance, moving to become the first country in the region to legalise gay marriage — deep-rooted conservatism and superstition still permeate everyday life.

Michael Turton said...

FYI Financial Times' Taipei-based correspondent (yay!) Edward White had a nice, positive articles about Taiwan lifestyles, notably the beautiful natural environment outside the cities and the awesome surfing along the east coast.

Since FT decided to intervene in the 2012 election on behalf of China, I almost never link to its articles, tweet them, or discuss them.

I like Ed very much, very nice man, very sharp.