Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Tsai's popularity on the up, Ma's on the wane: poll

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH AFP

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) anti-China stance has seen her popularity rise to a new high after her party gained ground in the local elections at the weekend, a survey conducted by a local media group showed yesterday.

Tsai is backed by 43 percent of survey respondents, up from 27 percent in May, reported the Chinese-language United Daily News, which is generally perceived to sympathize with the pan-blue camp.

The newspaper said its survey of 1,066 voters was carried out on Sunday, the day after the DPP won control of an extra county in the local elections. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost two counties it previously held.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as chairman of the KMT, was supported by 33 percent of the respondents, compared with 52 percent in May, the paper said.

The election was widely seen as a mid-term test of Ma’s performance during his 19 months as president.

The survey showed that voters had punished the KMT for several reasons, among them concern about the government’s push for a controversial trade agreement with China.

Meanwhile, while many said the DPP’s performance in Saturday’s elections had greatly increased Tsai’s chances for a possible run in next year’s Taipei City mayoral election, Tsai yesterday said no decision had been taken on a DPP candidate for the election.

Speaking via DPP Spokesman Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), Tsai said discussions over the nominations for next year’s elections had not been finalized and all talk of her candidacy was premature.

“Decisions regarding the candidacies for the special municipality elections must be thoroughly discussed within the party,” Tsai Chi-chang said.

The DPP clinched four counties — Pingtung, Yunlin, Chiayi and Yilan — with the latter being a leading indicator that the pan-green camp’s approval rating is on the way up and that the KMT’s popularity is waning.

In the races that the DPP lost, its candidates managed to narrow the gap on the KMT, making it the party’s highest number of votes in any major election except the 2004 presidential race.

The DPP caucus yesterday thanked the voters with a deep bow and said if Tsai Ing-wen was willing to personally take the candidacy for the Taipei City mayoral race, it would greatly boost the party’s morale and spirit.

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