Wed, Dec 09, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Support for Tsai passes critical 50% mark: survey

THE RIGHT STUFF:While Tsai Ing-wen’s choice of a running mate appears to have boosted her chances, Eric Chu lagged further behind with his controversial partner

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A pie chart displayed at a press conference in Taipei yesterday shows the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Cross-Strait Policy Association. The poll found support for the Democratic Progressive Party presidential ticket to be far ahead of its two rivals.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) support rating has exceeded 50 percent for the first time, buoyed by her choice of former Academia Sinica vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) as her running mate, while scandal-dogged Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice presidential candidate Jennifer Wang (王如玄) is widely unpopular among voters, according to a survey released by the Cross-Strait Policy Association (CSPA) yesterday.

The poll, conducted on Sunday and Monday among Taiwanese aged 20 and older, showed that the Tsai-Chen ticket garnered a support rating of 52.6 percent, up from the 48.6 percent the DPP chairperson received in the previous poll released on Nov. 8 — eight days before she confirmed Chen as her running mate.

By comparison, only 20.1 percent of respondents backed KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Wang, down from the 21.4 percent Chu received in last month’s poll.

People First Party (PFP) presidential candidate James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) support rating edged up to 9.2 percent from last month’s 8.3 percent, after teaming up with the Republican Party and selecting its chairperson, Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩), as his running mate late last month.

The majority of respondents, regardless of political affiliation, believed that Tsai would win the Jan. 16 election, with 96.5 percent of pan-green respondents, 70.2 percent of pan-blue supporters and 67.7 percent of swing voters throwing their support behind her.

Asked how they felt about the three vice presidential candidates, 53.7 percent of respondents said they view Chen favorably, followed by Hsu at 27.2 percent and Wang at 12.3 percent.

Due presumably to the snowballing controversy surrounding Wang’s speculative sales of military housing units, 63.4 percent of those polled said they disapproved of Wang, compared with 22 percent for Hsu and 11.5 percent for Chen.

Even pan-blue voters perceived Wang as an undesirable candidate, with 48.5 percent indicating they disliked her, while 26.2 percent thought otherwise.

Asked about Wang’s involvement in the housing controversy, 68.1 percent said that her speculative activities were inappropriate, while 63 percent disagreed with her explanation that her transactions of government-subsidized military housing units were neither illegal nor reflected any moral defect.

The poll also showed that 66.1 percent of respondents were unsatisfied with the way she has handled the controversy.

The survey collected 1,076 valid samples. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.

Cross-Strait Policy Association deputy director-general Tan Yao-nan (譚耀南) said the polling results suggested that Chen was conducive to Tsai’s campaign, while Wang could drag down Chu’s already dismal election prospects.

“The KMT leadership cannot remain inactive or mum about Wang’s speculative sales of military housing, which has evolved into an issue of social and distributive justice. They must take the matter seriously to prevent the KMT from collapsing in the post-election era,” Tan told a press conference in Taipei.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), an assistant professor at National Quemoy University’s Department of International and Mainland China Affairs, said the KMT should be alarmed by the fact that 81.3 percent of respondents who are public servants, teachers, military personnel or police — groups traditionally viewed as pro-blue camp — were dissatisfied with Wang’s handling of the housing scandal.

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