A public opinion poll that suggests independent aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) would be the strongest candidate for the pan-green camp in the Taipei mayoral election next year appears to be biased and have a political agenda behind it, said former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), one of the aspirants in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Taipei primary.
“Media and politicians have been overly obsessed with public opinion polls in recent years. Surveys have been utilized by either the media or election campaigns to distort the real voice of the people,” Lu told a press conference, in which she unveiled her campaign theme song and her vision for Taipei.
Lu was referring to a survey conducted by UDN TV, a subsidiary of the United Daily News Group, between Monday and Thursday last week, which found that Ko, director of National Taiwan University Hospital’s department of traumatology, is likely the only opponent who can challenge former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), regardless of whether the physician joins the DPP, and that both Lu and lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄) would trail Lien by a considerable margin if either were to win the DPP’s nomination.
If Ko joined the DPP and won the party’s nomination, his support rating currently only trails Lien by 3 percentage points and even if he ran as an independent his support rating is still behind Lien by the same margin, the survey found.
If Lu and Lien engaged in a head-to-head battle, Lu’s support rating would trail Lien’s by 36 percent, according to the poll, which collected 1,023 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Voters have a good understanding of the political implication of surveys and enjoy “playing with the pollsters” by giving them the answers they want — if they feel the institution carrying out the survey prefers certain answers, Lu said.
“Past experience tells us that supporters, regardless of which party they root for, tend to give their support to the weakest opponent so their favored candidate would have a better opportunity of winning the election,” Lu said.
That is why public opinion polls have been overemphasized and better candidates sometimes lose in primaries, she added.
The former vice president also accused UDN TV, known for its pro-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) position, of favoring Ko through the methodology it used.
Lu’s campaign aide, Yang hsien-hung (楊憲宏), said the presumption could be true as the KMT has also been struggling to nominate a candidate in Taipei and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) dislike of Lien is an open secret.
Meanwhile, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) quoting anonymous sources reported yesterday that high-ranking KMT officials have tried to persuade Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp chairman Ou Chin-der (歐晉德), who served as Taipei deputy mayor under then-Taipei mayor Ma between 1998 and 2004, to run in the election.
Ou, 69, appears to have been reluctant to run as the KMT candidate to squeeze Lien out of the election, the Liberty Times reported.
In related news, Taipei City Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) officially announced his bid for the DPP’s primary yesterday, making him the fourth DPP member to enter the race.
The support ratings of Chou and DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) are the lowest of the four DPP aspirants.