Wed, Apr 27, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP candidates troubled by poll leak

IMPROPER:Yang Hui-ju, who had not made it to the legislative primaries, apologized for disclosing some survey numbers, pointing to Tsai Ing-wen’s spokesperson as the source

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

A leak in the official polls used to select the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential nominee has left candidates and politicians scrambling to defend the integrity of the survey.

The DPP is expected to announce next year’s presidential candidate — likely to be either Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) or Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) — today at noon after the polls were conducted on Monday and yesterday. The third candidate, Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), who has admitted that his chances of winning are slim, is expected to trail the other two by a wide margin.

However, a leak late on Monday night by a blogger connected with the party led to harsh condemnations, including from senior DPP officials Tsai and Su.

Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如), dubbed the “goddess of cards” by the local media after gaining fame in 2006 by generating more than NT$1 million (US$34,600) in profits in three months by using her credit cards, wrote on the microblogging site Plurk: “Tsai Vs. Ma 13:11, Su Vs. Ma 11:9.”

The numbers, she said, were taken from Tsai’s campaign spokesperson Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄), who was then monitoring the -telephone surveys at an undisclosed polling center. Juan has denied being the source of the leak.

The small sample of the figures won’t be representative of the final poll results, compiled from 15,000 surveys, but criticism has focused on the root of the leak, allegedly coming from Tsai’s campaign — and whether it ended up affecting the survey.

The leak was an “unhelpful” move that could undermine chances of party unity after the final poll results are released, acting DPP chairperson Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

“What Yang did was not very smart,” Ker said. “We had asked to keep the poll numbers a secret amid concern that they could impact the surveys that were still in progress at the time.”

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) called for a new poll, citing the impact of the leak, which was widely reposted on blogs and discussion boards. The suggestion has been rejected.

Both Tsai and Su, at separate campaign stops, also called the leak “improper.”

“There is no gray area on this — the regulations are clear. The official polls cannot be disclosed,” Su said. “I hope that everybody can respect this.”

“I’m also a victim,” Tsai said. “And I want to emphasize that it was an improper thing to do.”

DPP regulations state that the candidates were each allowed a representative in each of the five polling centers used to compile survey results. The representatives were allowed to overhear some of the results as they came in.

Juan was one of the representatives. However, in a call-in on a popular talk show yesterday afternoon, he denied that he was the source of Yang’s information.

“I want to make it clear that I did not give Yang any figures. She needs to come out and clarify this ... and she should apologize,” Juan said, adding that the two had not been in contact.

Yang, who late last month failed to gain a spot in the DPP’s legislative primaries, has also since retracted the comments and apologized to the candidates, calling the post a “private conversation” not meant for public attention in a tearful appearance yesterday.

The post has since been deleted from Yang’s Plurk account.

The poll leak is the latest controversy to hit the DPP election primary, coming just one day before the tightly fought two-month campaign ends. The official telephone polls ended last night.

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