Friday, August 03, 2018

Lin Gets Boost in Taichung + Polls

And so the  Chinese end up giving Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung a boost in a tight race with the KMT's Lu (Taipei Times) as their cancellation of the East Asian Youth Games works in Lin's favor:
Asked who should be responsible for the incident, 40.5 percent said Beijing, while 31.5 percent said the Taiwanese government.

Despite the cancelation, 71.1 percent of respondents said that the city should continue to build the sports venues intended for the Games, while more than 80 percent said that they supported Lin’s appeal to reinstate the Games.

Regarding satisfaction over Lin’s handling of the incident, 57.6 percent said that they were satisfied, while 22.7 percent said they were dissatisfied

The survey also gauged how the incident affected Lin’s approval rating. It found that 43.2 percent of voters support Lin’s re-election bid, while his main competitor, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), garnered support from only 24.4 percent.

Lin also led the favorability rating by 25.6 percentage points, the survey found.

The Taichung mayoral election to be held in November is widely considered to be a close race, National Taiwan Normal University Graduate Institute of Political Science professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said, adding that the result would also be considered a bellwether for the 2020 presidential race.
It's actually amazing to me that 31% of the people blame Taiwan when China hurts it. But this poll from the pro-China Cross Strait Policy Association is nothing but good news for Lin. Not only does it show him with higher favorability and support numbers, it also has high support for building the venue and for his handling of the cancellation. The DPP poll also found that 68% blame China. Lot of idiots out there in the minority, fortunately...

Moreover, the public supports continued building of the infrastructure, which means that the city government run by the DPP will still be pouring money into the pockets of people pouring concrete, with public approval. Keeping local faction networks fed and watered with public funds is a key to winning local elections...

That's very good news, but even though Lu is a lackluster mainlander candidate backed by the KMT machine, the election is still very winnable for the KMT and much campaigning lies ahead. One county over, in Changhua, DPP infighting has given the KMT a real chance to take back Changhua, which is the largest administrative entity by population outside the 6 municipalities, as Donovan reminds me.

Taichung will be an important signal of the DPP's ability to deliver victory in the Real Taiwan. Remember, the mayor of a municipality appoints all of the officials in that area. That will mean eight years of DPP power across the area.

My friend Donovan Smith dug up this old photo of Ting Shou-chung, Chen Shui-bian, and Jaw Shaw-kong from a panel discussion before the 1994 mayoral election, which Chen won. 

According to a poll this week, in Taipei independent and pro-Green Ko Wen-je, the current mayor, is far ahead of the KMT's Ting Shou-chung and the DPP's Pasuya Yao...
As for the Nov. 24 elections, Ko has a significant lead (64.4 percent) in supportive rate against his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rivals, Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) respectively, the poll found.
Ko laughed at questions about him running for president. I do not think he will run in 2020. He'd have to run against Tsai Ing-wen, and his deputy mayor is DPP. That would mean turning his own city over to the party of his major rival, while annoying the population by leaving his job early. I don't see that happening. But it might not be a bad idea for the DPP to bring him into the party for the 2024 election and run him as Veep, if he'd accept that.

Meanwhile the pro-KMT Taiwan Competitiveness Forum came out with a rather strange poll that supported the claims of some analysts that people are giving up on political parties.
Public dissatisfaction with Tsai’s performance reached 64.1 percent, increasing by 3.8 percentage points from a February poll, while dissatisfaction with Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) performance rose 6.4 points to 47.5 percent, Hsieh said.

While Tsai has encouraged government officials to show humility, nearly 40 percent of respondents said that the ruling party has not demonstrated more tolerance for social dissent than the KMT, Hsieh added.

Asked which party they supported, 23.1 percent said the KMT and 14.6 percent chose the DPP, while more than half of respondents had no preference, he said.
The poll is simply a political attack on the DPP and should carry no weight as an analysis of the electorate. But that last paragraph there has half the population showing no party preference. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the population wants another party choice, but no party has stepped up. Nor can they -- the mathematics of a winner-take-all system work against smaller parties. That is why the KMT and DPP colluded to get rid of the old system. We need to return to that.

Donovan pointed out to me that the Miaoli shows how pro-KMT areas are willing to vote for alternatives if they are not DPP. But Taipei, a heavily pro-KMT city, also shows that -- if given a non-DPP politician, even an obvious green, KMT voters are willing to make the switch.

This blog tracks the polls. At present among the six municipalities the KMT is winning only in New Taipei City, where their candidate is one of the most popular politicians in the country. The KMT is in the lead in Yilan, which swings KMT from time to time despite its green reputation. In Hsinchu county a former KMTer is in the lead, while the DPP candidate is leading in the city. In Nantou (a KMT lock), Miaoli (a KMT lock), and Changhua the KMT is in the lead. Yunlin, Chiayi, and Pingtung are all DPP at the moment, but the KMT is leading in Chiayi City. Hualien, Taitung, and Penghu are all KMT at the moment, the first two are KMT locks.

In sum, if the election were held today, the notable swings would be in Yilan and Changhua. The all-important municipalities would remain in DPP hands.

Not a bad outcome, if it holds.

ADDED: Brian H looks at the election here.
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TaiwanJunkie said...

The 30+% that blames Taiwan are likely the same 30-40% that identify as Taiwanese AND Chinese.

If one identifies with the enemy state, and hopes for eventual annexation, then any effort that will assert a separate identity and eventual de jure independence is therefore wrong.

Anonymous said...


It certainly would be a happy irony if China's abuse of Taichung's Games' bid ends up helping the DPP in Taichung. Fingers crossed!

Secondly, a question for you about Taiwan Hakka (esp Taoyuan / Hsinchu / Miaoli) support for KMT. Where does it come from and why does it exist at all? I can't think of any rational justification for Hakka alignment with the old school authoritarian KMT - it makes no sense to me.

Perhaps you've got an old post somewhere about it?

I had not previously visited those regions much, but recently traveled around the hills of Hsinchu and Taoyuan, visited Daxi, etc., and was taken aback by the prevalence of Chiang Kai Shek worship and public displays of strongly "blue" loyalties in what seemed to be heavily Hakka neighborhoods. I had heard about this from time to time, and picked up some of the tone from casual comments with Hakka folks I encounter from time to time in daily life; but I'm very curious about the background.

Is it all sourced from the KMT's financial manipulation of the older animosities between Hakka Taiwanese and Minnan Taiwanese? Is it waning now that (a) the KMT has less money to throw around at them and (b) Tsai Ing-Wen is supposedly part-Hakka?

Just curious. Thanks as always for your consistent, thoughtful and passionate analyses of Taiwan current affairs and history.

Anonymous said...

... cont'd re: Hakka question

Ok Michael, I did a little more homework searching through your past blog posts touching upon the nature of Hakka politics and KMT traditional dominance in Hakka areas of Taiwan (or at least in north Taiwan ... I have no idea what happens in the many Hakka areas of south Taiwan scattered all over Kaohsiung and Pingtung. Do you?)

I feel better informed now, although am still curious about exactly how the KMT succeeded in getting a population mainlanders historically despised (ie. Taiwanese Hakka) to actually support the KMT.

For me, the thing that took me aback so much during my brief sojourn in the hills of Hsinchu and Taoyuan were the prominent displays here and there linked to Chiang Kai Shek. I spend most of my time in south Taiwan, where I almost never see public displays of Cash My Check.

Visited Daxi which is beautiful ... ASIDE from the proliferation of Cash My Check worship-centers: mausoleum, memorial park and statues graveyard, multiple "Xing-Guan" Cash My Check residences, picture of the mf'er in stores and shops all over the place. Compared to the south it was a weird, stomach-turning shock.

Did you know that the Cash My Check mausoleum / former luxury residence / discarded statues park at Daxi is on land that was apparently owned by the Banqiao Lin Family and then "donated" free of charge to the ROC government for military use ... and of course then promptly turned into a Cash My Check residence? Doesn't it speak volumes about the sick levels of state coercion and corruption of the KMT authoritatian era that this place links back to expropriation (either willingly for corrupt favoritism or at gunpoint)?

How are these places even allowed to exist in today's Taiwan?

Regardless of whether it makes sense to me as a foreigner here, it was interesting - and encouraging - to watch my Taiwanese colleagues observe the Daxi monuments, joke about them, sort of passively accept them as a historical fact of life in Taiwan. They were far more relaxed about the whole thing than me. Good on them, I suppose. Taiwan's exist from its authoritarian decades is a gradual, peaceful and generational process.