Public opinion polls released yesterday showed that independent Taipei mayoral hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) remain head and shoulders above their respective opponents in the run-up to the year-end elections, while Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) has erased his deficit in the rankings.
The polls in the three constituencies were conducted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
Ko is leading Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei matoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文) with 44.33 percent to 32.82 percent, in a poll conducted on Friday, while Chu of the KMT kept a double-digit lead in support rates, with 48.98 percent to the 37.8 percent posted by his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival, former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), in a poll conducted between July 5 and Monday last week.
With support from the pan-green camp, Ko increased his advantage over Lien, former Taipei EasyCard Co chairman and son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), from 10.6 percentage points in a similar poll last month to 11.5 percentage points as Sean Lien is struggling to revitalize his campaign in Taipei.
Former DPP lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), who announced his Taipei mayoral bid on June 13, ranked third at 9.36 percent and award-winning screenwriter Neil Peng (馮光遠) was fourth at 2.58 percent, with 10.91 percent of respondents declining to vote.
Analysts said that Shen, who has switched his political allegiance to the pan-blue camp after withdrawing from the DPP, could be a spoiler for Lien.
In response to the poll, Ko said support rates “rise and fall like the stock market index” and he would not interpret the surveys on a daily basis.
Lien said he had seen the results of several polls and they all differed, adding that his campaign would not be affected by them.
In the New Taipei City race, Chu remained far ahead of Yu with a 11.2-percentage point lead, but saw his advantage evaporate by almost 20 percentage points in a month, the poll showed. In a poll conducted by the Apple Daily last month, Chu led Yu by almost 30 percentage points, 53.47 percent to 25.6 percent.
A poll in Taoyuan County found that Wu appeared to have survived a slump last month, when he was hurt by a corruption scandal involving his deputy, Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文), and trailed DPP candidate Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) by 5.5 percentage points.
According to the survey, Wu is hanging on to a small lead — 42.53 percent to 39.6 percent — over Cheng, which fell closely within the margin of error, with 17.77 percent of respondents undecided.
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