The 20-to-29 age bracket will play a decisive role in determining the outcome of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for Jan. 14, an academic familiar with election campaign affairs has predicted in a recent academic thesis.
It will be the first time in Taiwan’s history that the two major elections are being held on the same day.
Hsieh Shiang-ching (謝相慶), a professor at the Public Administration Department of Tamkang University, said in the paper released on Oct. 15 that there would be nearly 3.5 million voters in the 20-to-29 age group.
He cited official census statistics compiled in December last year.
About 1.3 million of them will be first-time voters aged between 20 and 23, he said.
“The political orientation of these young people will be a key factor in deciding who will win the presidential election,” he said.
Hsieh once served as a division director responsible for election campaign and mobilization affairs at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters.
In his analysis, he said there would be about 18 million eligible voters in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
Basing his calculations on an expected turnout rate of 76 percent, about 13.68 million voters will cast their ballots, 580,000 people more than in the last presidential election of March 2008, and 3.79 million more than in the last legislative elections in January of that same year.
With the change in the number of eligible voters, “presidential candidates will need to try to seek support from the median voters and explore new sources of ballots,” Hsieh said.
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