Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidates Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) are still neck and neck, according to a new poll, with one month left in the primary race.
The Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC)-commissioned poll found that Tsai had 33.63 percent support, while Su had 30.12 percent, consistent with past surveys that showed the two even.
The third DPP candidate, former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), garnered 6.55 percent of the vote.
The numbers confirm what some DPP officials have privately said in recent days, that the chances of a reconciliation are slim with the two front-runners in a dead heat three weeks before the party starts its telephone poll.
The DPP plans to nominate the candidate with the best chance of defeating President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) next year. If both lead Ma in the polls, the candidate with the greater margin will take the nomination.
Modeled in a similar fashion, BCC numbers showed Tsai trailing Ma, 34.48 percent to 36.35 percent, a difference of 1.88 percent, while Su would lose to Ma by 1.8 percent, with 34.55 percent against 36.35 percent.
The contest is still seen as volatile as Tsai and Su continue to tackle sensitive issues, such as phasing out nuclear power and putting the brakes on the petrochemical industry. The two candidates have spent most of their time beefing up their support in southern Taiwan, a traditional DPP stronghold.
The DPP plans to hold an official negotiating session between the two candidates tomorrow in the hope that a breakthrough in the talks would stave off the need for the telephone poll and deliver a sanctioned candidate for next year’s presidential election.
If the discussions fall through, a telephone poll will be held between April 25 and April 29. A nominee is scheduled to be finalized by May 4.
The survey included interviews with 1,024 potential voters on Wednesday and Thursday last week and it has a margin of error of 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.
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