An instant poll conducted by the search engine Yahoo-Kimo, the Taiwan unit of Yahoo, yesterday found that 38 percent of respondents thought Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had performed best in the first televised presidential debate.
Thirty-one percent of respondents favored People First Party presidential candidate James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) performance, while 29 percent said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) performed better.
Two percent said they were undecided or had no opinion.
Yesterday’s first televised presidential debate took place from 2pm to 4:30pm.
The online poll was conducted from 2pm to 6pm on the question: “Whose performance in the presidential debate did you find the most satisfactory?”
According to Yahoo-Kimo, a total of 12,406 people voted during the four hours. Among them, 4,762 voted in favor of Tsai’s performance, 3,785 in favor of Soong’s performance and 3,629 in favor of Ma’s performance.
At the post-debate press conference, Ma declined to comment on his own performance in the debate, but praised both Tsai and Soong for their performances, promising to value their advice and criticisms.
Ma, in his opening remarks in the debate, used “Taiwan” for the first time when referring to the nation, but later declined to confirm that his recognition of Taiwan as the nation’s title represented his agreement with Tsai’s rhetoric that “the Republic of China [ROC] is Taiwan.”
“When we say ‘Taiwan,’ most of the time we are referring to the ROC. ‘Taiwan’ is the common title for the nation,” Ma said.
On his position on future visits to China if re-elected, which he failed to answer during the debate, Ma said he would not visit China if he could not make the trip as the nation’s leader.
Tsai said at her post-debate press conference that she was glad her proposed “Taiwan consensus” was discussed in the debate and that it would serve as a notice to Beijing, “because China has to realize that if I am elected in January, I would be able to represent the mainstream public opinion.”
Tsai said she also welcomed a surprising remark by Ma, who said in his opening remarks that “Taiwan is also my country” — the first time he has done so in a public setting.
When asked whether she would make a “no independence” pledge, Tsai said the so-called independence is not an issue for the DPP because the party has made it clear that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country with the current name of the ROC.
It is Ma who has to ask himself where the issue of unification comes from if Ma now views Taiwan as a sovereign country, Tsai said, “and if Taiwan is his country, does the ‘three noes policy’ still mean anything?”
When asked to comment on her debate performance, Tsai said: “Overall, I think I did pretty well.”
Meanwhile, Soong, at his post-debate press conference, when asked by the press whether he felt he seemed to be ignored by Ma and Tsai during the debate, said he was happy to be marginalized “because they both engaged in trivial issues rather than ideas to rule the country.”
While giving high praise for Ma and Tsai for their performance, Soong added that he also put a lot of effort into the debate.
Soong pledged to establish a “Two Rs” government — Responsible and Responsive — if he is elected, to embody the value of the country’s democracy.