The public no longer prizes rectitude above all else and now want its city mayors and county commissioners to be administratively capable as well as to keep their hands clean, a CommonWealth Magazine poll on attitudes toward county commissioners and city mayors showed yesterday.
The poll observed not only a general shift in areas marking the traditional backing of the pan-blue and the pan-green camps, but also the competition between the next-generation of political figures within either camp.
Half of the 10 highest-scoring officials were fresh faces on the political scene and three of the five top officials belonged to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) — Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) coming in first with 72.9 points, followed by Yilan County Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) in second with 71.6 points and Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) in fourth with 68.7.
Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁), an independent, dropped to seventh place with 63.8 points after facing pressure to meet his campaign pledges, while Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Wo-shi (李沃士) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) made it to the top 10 with 61.8 points.
The poll also showed that the rankings of the mayors for the five special municipalities did not differ much from last year.
Aside from Lai ranking in the top three mayors for two consecutive years, Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the DPP ranked fifth, reflecting belief that Chen was sensitive to the needs of Greater Kaohsiung residents.
In contrast, the poll placed the mayors of New Taipei City (新北市), Taipei and Greater Taichung — all from the KMT — between the 19th and 21st positions for the second consecutive year.
Poll data also showed residents now considered rectitude as the basic standard for administrative heads and demand that their city and county leaders’ also have the capability to govern, with KMT member and Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) the greatest example.
Liu’s emphasis on leadership and clear goals helped him gain third place with 68.8 points, despite his involvement in the Dapu incident, in which the Miaoli County Government seized farmland to expand the Hsinchu Science Park’s branch in southern Hsinchu by blocking off roads and sending excavators into farms that were awaiting harvest. Lai’s combination of resourcefulness and transparency in city affairs put him on top in the poll.
The poll also found that the next-generation of political figures have both high efficacy in administrative affairs and political support, with Lai, Lin and Chang all receiving more than 70 percent of support when respondents were asked who they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow.
Fu, Chen, Liu and Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) have all received more than 60 percent of support from residents in their cities on the question.