The central constituencies of Greater Taichung, Nantou and Changhua counties will be key battlegrounds in the local elections next year, the latest public opinion poll conducted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) showed yesterday, conforming to most political observers’ expectations.
The DPP trails the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) by less than 1 percentage point among voters in Changhua with 30 percent against the ruling party’s 29.1 percent, leads by almost 5 percentage points (34.8 to 30.1) in Greater Taichung and enjoys a more comfortable lead of close to 6 percentage points (34.4 to 28.5) in Nantou, according to a poll conducted by the party’s poll center on Monday and Tuesday.
However, almost one-third of the 1,805 people surveyed — 899 in Greater Taichung, 455 in Changhua and 451 in Nantou — remained undecided on which party to vote for in the seven-in-one elections next year.
The DPP’s poll center briefed its Central Standing Committee (CSC) on the survey results at the committee’s weekly meeting yesterday in Greater Taichung, where the party is to celebrate its 27th anniversary on Saturday.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the party should nominate candidates in the three constituencies who can realize the public’s hope for change and should also draft a feasible policy plan for developing central Taiwan.
Although KMT mayors and commissioners — including Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) and former Nantou County commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) — are either unpopular due to poor governance or involved in corruption scandals, poll results showed that the DPP was only able to gain ground in Nantou, where 66.2 percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied with Lee’s performance.
The survey found that Cho Po-yuan, whose brother, Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), was named in several corruption scandals, has an approval rating of 55.7 percent and a disapproval rating of 30.3 percent in Changhua, where five DPP politicians intend to run for commissioner.
Hu also enjoys more public approval than disapproval — 46.5 percent to 42.2 percent — despite many voters in Greater Taichung expressing discontent with the performance of their longtime mayor, who has occupied the post since 2001, the poll found.
When asked which party they would vote for in the mayoral and commissioner elections next year, respondents chose the DPP in all three constituencies, receiving 28.5 percent of the Changhua vote against 21.5 percent for the KMT, with the ratio at 23.3 percent to 19.2 percent in Nantou and 28.8 percent to 22.5 percent in Greater Taichung, the poll found.
However, these numbers could be misleading because about half of the respondents remained undecided, the poll center said.