Mon, Nov 07, 2011 - Page 3 News List

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Ma’s lead on Tsai surges, survey says

PULLING AWAY:The poll said that since September, Ma’s edge over Tsai jumped from 0.7 points to 7.3 points, countering the notion Ma’s talk of peace had cost him

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) holds a 7.3 point lead over Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), a poll by the Taiwanese Association for Pacific Ocean Development (TAPOD) showed yesterday.

The poll showed that 38 percent of respondents said they would vote for Ma, 30.7 percent would vote for Tsai and 9.7 percent would support People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), while 14.3 percent remained undecided, TAPOD chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said at the press conference held to publicize the results.

The poll shows that Ma is widening his lead over Tsai, as two previous TAPOD polls said Ma had a 3.9 percentage point lead last month, up from a 0.7 point lead in September.

Yesterday’s resulted survey showed that 47.2 percent of respondents think Ma is going to win the election, while only 26.9 percent of respondents picked Tsai to win.

You said the poll appeared to refute analysts who said the DPP had recently gained momentum following several successful campaign rallies and fund-raising events, and that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was reeling after Ma’s talk of a possible peace pact with China.

ECONOMIC GLOOM

More than 40 percent of respondents were pessimistic about the country’s economic outlook and 35 percent said their personal finances had gotten worse under the Ma administration, You said, but these figures did not translate into higher support for Tsai.

“It was even more shocking to see Tsai finish last for the question: ‘Who is the best candidate to handle cross-strait complexity,’ coming behind Ma and Soong,” You said.

You said another surprise in the poll was that about 20 percent of respondents who support Taiwan’s independence said they would vote for Ma.

“By equaling Tsai in support from independent voters and enjoying support from voters who support unification, independence and the ‘status quo,’ I would say that Ma has secured a ‘winning coalition.’ This should serve as a warning for Tsai,” You said.

Former DPP chairperson Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) also warned Tsai’s camp, saying that comprehensive policy on China remained Tsai’s Achilles’ heel and that she has failed to exploit the growing wealth gap — Ma’s most glaring weakness — by laying out bold policies.

The results can be interpreted in two different ways, Hsu told the press conference.

TWO WAYS TO SEE IT

“On the optimistic side, no other DPP presidential candidate has been this close to his or her KMT rival 70 days before election day. On the pessimistic side, Tsai’s deficit has increased in the past three months,” he said.

Hsu, who failed in a bid to win the DPP’s presidential nomination earlier this year, said the DPP would be wise to re-evaluate its longstanding views on cross-strait relations, because “contrary to what the DPP thinks, many voters do not think Ma would sell out Taiwan or lean toward unification and the ‘one China’ policy.”

Former Research, Development and Evaluation Commission minister Lin Chia-cheng (林嘉誠) said the DPP had received little recognition from its criticism of the Ma administration’s failures in foreign affairs and cross-strait affairs.

Lin added that Ma’s poor performance on domestic affairs has turned his “incumbent re-election advantage,” which typically represents a 5 point bump, into an “incumbent re-election disadvantage.”

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