President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has retaken the lead in his re-election bid over Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), a survey conducted by a US academic showed yesterday.
In the survey conducted by Peter Gries, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for US-China Issues, Ma’s support rate was 34 percent, while Tsai was on 26 percent.
Support for People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was at 10 percent, while undecided voters accounted for 30 percent, the survey showed.
If Soong withdrew from the presidential race, his supporters would be more likely to vote for Ma, the poll showed. In this scenario, Ma’s support rose to 45 percent, while Tsai would receive 30 percent of the vote, according to the results Gries presented in Taipei.
The survey, conducted between Nov. 17 and Monday with a sample size of 500 people and a 6.5 percent margin of error, used an Internet survey methodology to avoid biases associated with telephone and face-to-face polls, he said.
In terms of ethnic factors, respondents with a Hakka background were more likely to support Ma than Tsai at almost 60 percent versus 40 percent respectively.
People of Hoklo origin were more ambivalent about the two candidates, each of whom received a support rating of about 50 percent, the poll showed, adding that voters of Mainland descent are highly polarized over the two candidates, with Ma enjoying a support rate of more than 60 percent compared with Tsai’s 30 percent.
The survey also indicated that Ma supporters were slightly more likely to identify themselves as Chinese than Taiwanese, whereas Tsai supporters were more likely to identify themselves as Taiwanese.
When asked about cross-strait policies, most of Tsai’s supporters hoped the DPP presidential candidate would present tough China policies, while Ma’s supporters were more ambivalent about whether the president should be tougher on China, Gries said.
“Policies towards China seemed to be one of the major drivers of vote choice and partisanship … And undecided voters cared more about the economy and other issues,” he said.