The support rates of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) are tied at 42 percent apiece if they were to stand against each other in a presidential election tomorrow, a public opinion poll found.
According to the poll, conducted by the poll center of TVBS, a cable television channel, Tsai and Chu received more support than the two parties’ aspirant presidential candidates, beating out DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), among others.
Three DPP household names — Tsai, Su and Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) — were paired with a quartet of well-known KMT heavyweights respectively — Chu, Wu, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) — in 12 head-to-head polls.
The survey found that the Tsai-Chu matchup, which resulted in them tied on a 42 percent support rate each and 16 percent of the respondents undecided, was the only competitive matchup among the 12 combinations, despite neither of them announcing an intention to join the presidential race.
A further breakdown of the statistics showed that Tsai led Chu among respondents in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups, but he beat Tsai in all age groups above 40. Geographically, the results were consistent with the commonly known political map, with Tsai winning in southern Taiwan, while Chu chalked up a large lead in northern Taiwan.
Tsai managed to edge Chu in the battleground constituency of central Taiwan, where she led by 1 percentage point, or 43 percent to 42 percent, with 15 percent of respondents undecided. However, Chu won by 1 percentage point (36 percent to 35 percent) among respondents who identified themselves as independent voters, with 29 percent undecided.
Other than Tsai, it appeared that none of the DPP hopefuls would be a serious contender against Chu, as Su fell way behind (48 percent to 33 percent) and Lai trailed by 8 percentage points (44 percent to 36 percent).
The poll also found that pitting the other three KMT hopefuls against any of the three aspirant DPP presidential candidates would be disastrous for the KMT.
Hau was comparatively the best of the KMT trio, losing to Tsai by 24 percentage points (52 to 28); by 11 to Su (43 to 32) and by 16 to Lai (46 to 30).
Vice President Wu Den-yih and Premier Jiang Yi-huah both trailed by between 28 percent and 39 percent against the three DPP hopefuls.
Responding to the survey, DPP spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said Su Tseng-chang insisted that the seven-in-one elections this year is a more urgent task for the party than the presidential election in 2016.
“Chairman Su has always maintained that we would not have a successful presidential campaign without fruitful seven-in-one elections this year. That will be our response to the poll for now,” Chang said.
Tsai Ing-wen’s office was not available for comment as of press time.
The poll, conducted between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25 last year, had 1,049 valid samples and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.