Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Taipei County polls do not tell the whole story

HEATING UP Recent polls showing large differences between the two candidates should not be taken seriously, as analysts say the real campaigning is yet to begin

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Recent polls conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the United Daily News measuring support for the Taipei County commissioner candidates have showed vastly different predictions between the DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). But political analysts said that the surveys suggest that yet-to-be-revealed campaign strategies will still play an important part for the two candidates.

A survey conducted by the United Daily News on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and released last Wednesday found that the KMT candidate for Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) had a substantial lead over the DPP's Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) -- with Chou polling 42 percent while Luo obtained only 22 percent.

However, according to the latest poll conducted by the DPP's Survey Center on Oct. 27 which was released on Saturday, Luo and Chou are running neck and neck, with 38.7 percent of those questioned supporting Chou and 35.8 percent stumping for Luo.

The fact that the two polls were conducted so close to each other and yet showed such a great discrepancy has confused many people. Luo's camp even suggested that the United Daily News faked their survey in order to damage the Luo camp's morale. Chou's camp declined to comment on the two surveys.

Chiang Ming-chin (江岷欽), a professor of public administration at Taipei University, said "I think that polls conducted by political parties unavoidably favor their candidates, therefore I don't think those polls are a real reflection of the situation."

Chiang served as legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) campaign strategist when Wang ran for the KMT chairmanship.

But Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political analyst and research fellow at Academia Sinica's Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, considered the DPP's survey to be much closer to reality.

Hsu said that Luo and Chou are both strong candidates, but as the voting structure of Taipei County indicates that the number of pan-blue supporters is larger than pan-green supporters, Luo has been behind Chou from the very beginning of the campaign.

Although the DPP administration has been embroiled in a series of scandals over the past month and has been tainted by a succession of negative news articles, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not gained that much more support, Hsu said.

"If you scrutinize the recent polls conducted by the different centers, you would find that there has not been much change in the level of Chou's support," Hsu said. "Chou's support represents the basic level of pan-blue support in Taipei County. But people who want to win this election have to possess the ability to attract the neutral voters."

Hsu pointed out that so far DPP supporters have yet to show their support for Luo's campaign, which is also why Luo has so far been unable to surpass Chou.

"If Luo can stir DPP supporters and change the focus of the campaign from the central government to the local government and keep talking about the New DPP movement, then he might have a better chance of winning," Hsu said.

Hsu also warned the pan-blue camp not to overestimate the effect of the negative news that has been bothering the DPP administration over the past month.

"The pan-blue camp might think that the DPP have already lost next month's elections because of the bombardment of bad news on the TV," Hsu said. "Negative news will make an impact on the DPP, but such an effect may be limited to northern Taiwan, where more voters get their information from the TV, whereas those in the south do not."

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