There are growing signs that next year’s elections will be hotly contested, with the latest poll suggesting that support in the presidential race is still evenly split with eight months left before the election.
Confirming earlier media polls, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) are neck-and-neck, according to a Global Views poll released yesterday.
“It’s an extremely small difference — and based on our analysis, their position right now is basically the same,” said Tai Li-an (戴立安), director of the Global Views Survey Research Center. “Most voters appear to have already made up their minds.”
Ma polled 38.9 percent, slightly above Tsai’s 38.6 percent — reflecting for the poll a difference of about three telephone calls in the 1,270-call survey the center conducted.
A two-way presidential race has never been this close with eight months left before the elections, said Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌), head of the Taiwan Economy and Industry Association, who analyzed the numbers.
Nearly four-fifths of voters have already made up their minds, according to the poll, which -predicted that turnout would top 75 percent — among the highest on record. The figures signal that next year will be an extremely close election, he said.
The Global Views poll gave both Ma and Tsai room for improvement, comparing the two side by side on issues likely to dominate election headlines later this year.
Ma led Tsai by double digit numbers when voters were asked which candidate had a better record in terms of administration experience (45.5 percent to 28.3 percent) and who would better ensure Taiwan’s interest and cross-strait peace (48.3 percent to 31.7 percent).
However, Tsai led in areas like her ability to engage in public dialogue on major policies (41.4 percent to 34.3 percent) and her leadership and management capabilities (42.1 percent to 31.4 percent).
The Global Views survey was also consistent with unreleased party polls that also show the two candidates in a fifty-fifty split, DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.
The Global Views poll was conducted nationwide on Monday and Tuesday. It has a margin of error of 2.7 percent.