2012 ELECTIONS: Ma’s lead falls within margin of error

RAZOR-THIN::A futures market says the president’s lead peaked at almost 19 percent last month, but then plummeted after he floated signing a peace accord with China

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer

Wed, Nov 09, 2011 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) are locked in a tight presidential election race, with the latest media poll putting the lead Ma holds over Tsai within the poll’s margin of error.

A poll result released by the -Chinese language China Times yesterday showed that if only two pairs of presidential candidates were fielded, Ma and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ticket against Tsai and DPP Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) on the DPP ticket, the support rate for the Ma-Wu ticket would be 44.3 percent, while it would be 41 percent for the Tsai-Su ticket.

Although the poll gave Ma a lead of 3.3 points over Tsai, it was the closest gap between the two candidates in the presidential surveys that the China Times has conducted in recent months.

If People First Party (PFP) presidential hopeful James Soong (宋楚瑜) were to participate in the January presidential election along with his running mate, academic Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄), the Ma-Wu ticket would garner 41.7 percent support, while the Tsai-Su ticket would gain 38.2 percent and the Soong-Lin ticket would receive 10.4 percent, the poll showed.

The poll questioned 1,074 people and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

On Monday, xfuture.org, a Web site with a platform similar to the stock market that allows users to predict the results of future events, said Tsai held a slight lead over Ma in terms of her percentage of votes and her possibility of getting elected.

As of Saturday, the exchange predicted that Tsai would receive 49.5 percent of votes, Ma would get 48.3 percent and Soong would take 7.5 percent. Tsai has held the lead in the past nine days, and in the past three days her margin has exceeded 1 percentage point.

On the possibility of being elected, on Saturday the exchange gave Tsai 44.8 percent, Ma 41.5 percent and Soong 13.5 percent.

It said Ma’s chances of winning the election rose steadily from early September, peaking on Oct. 16 when he was 18.7 percentage points ahead of Tsai. However, that lead narrowed after Ma floated the possibility of signing a peace pact with China within the next 10 years.

According to National Chengchi University’s Prediction Markets Center, prediction markets efficiently collect effective information through a futures or stock-trading mechanism that relies on the wisdom of the public, who buy and sell contracts of future events on the market.