President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is still more popular than Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) among women and middle-aged voters, while the latter appears to be in the lead among twenty--something voters, a survey suggested yesterday.
Bucking a trend seen by other media polls with the two in a tied race, a Taiwan Public Opinion Studies Association poll gave Ma of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) a 6 percentage point lead in support over Tsai amid a popularity rating of 42.2 percent.
Among female voters surveyed, support for Ma was especially pronounced at 47.3 percent, a 14 percentage point lead over Tsai at 33.7 percent. Ma also led Tsai by double digits in the over-30 and over-40 age brackets.
The survey showed that Tsai led slightly among male voters with a support rate of 42.9 percent compared with Ma’s 41.1 percent, but the pair were closely matched among voters above 60, with Tsai taking 40.5 percent against 39.3 percent for Ma.
Among voters in their 20s, an age cohort on which both candidates have focused their efforts in the past two months, Tsai received 50.9 percent support, a 17 percentage point lead over Ma’s 33.6 percent, which came despite the Ma administration’s efforts to lower barriers for first-time home buyers.
Experts studying the results of the survey have called it unusual for the two candidates to poll so closely in support with eight months still to go until election day.
“It appears that their bedrock of support is already very stable,” said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political scientist at Soochow University.
Support for the Ma administration has remained relatively unchanged despite passing the luxury tax last month, which is aimed cracking down on rising income disparities, the survey suggested.
Released close to the third anniversary of his administration taking office, Ma’s approval rate stood at 42.2 percent, while the disapproval rate remained at 40 percent.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) fared slightly better with an approval rating of 44.7 percent and a 37 percent disapproval rating.
The poll also found that most people believed the luxury tax would lower housing prices. More than half of the respondents said that the move would “lessen the burden on people buying houses.”
Conducted on May 6 and May 7, the center polled 1,068 voters nationwide. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.