Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday dismissed People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) surge in the polls as just a “temporary phenomenon.”
Asked about her and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) falling poll numbers after Soong announced his presidential bid on Thursday, Hung said she was “not worried.”
“Soong had a successful news conference [on Thursday], and in Taiwan, poll numbers can be temporarily lifted by single events or a random occurrences. However, after calm deliberation and careful observation, the result is likely to be different,” she said.
The deputy legislative speaker added that as the presidential candidate officially nominated by the KMT, with the approval of the party’s national congress, it was not possible to conduct another poll with other pan-blue candidates.
Asked about rumors that the KMT might “abandon Hung to secure support for Soong,” Hung said it was too early to tell as there were still months left until the election on Jan. 16.
“What Taiwan needs is to forsake wicked and crooked ways, and secure a middle ground,” she said.
A survey conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News immediately following Soong’s announcement showed that while Tsai continued to lead with 36 percent, support for Hung dropped to 17 percent and lagged behind Soong’s 24 percent.
An earlier United Daily News poll conducted on Thursday prior to Soong’s announcement showed Hung in second place with a support rate of 25 percent.
The poll results also showed that as many as 68 percent of pan-blue supporters said they support Hung, while 15 percent said they support Tsai.
However, after Soong joined the race, 26 percent of pan-blue supporters said they would switch their support to Soong, while only 55 percent remained loyal to Hung. Support for Tsai among pan-blue supporters dropped to 8 percent after Soong joined the race.
Additional reporting by: Loa Iok-sin
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