Thu, May 09, 2019 - Page 3 News List

DPP panel working on poll row

By Jason Pan and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday said that the party’s five-member mediation panel had been at work to resolve the differences over the cellphone polling method, and making arrangements for holding debate and public policy discussions for the party’s two presidential candidates.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) are competing in the party’s presidential primary, with both sides having begun their campaign to rally support among DPP grassroots members.

Tsai has suggested including cellphone surveys on grounds that cellphone penetration rate in Taiwan is higher than landline, but Lai said that he is opposed to the idea because it is susceptible to fraud and statistical manipulation, and has not been proven to be more scientifically accurate.

Cho convened the DPP Central Standing Committee at party headquarters in Taipei, which made the decision to pick up on the mediation work between the two sides next week, as Lai yesterday evening departed for a five-day visit to Japan.

“Mediation is needed to reach an agreement on telephone polling method, holding for debate and public policy discussion for both candidates, and other issues. The panel would meet with Tsai and Lai in person separately, and preparations are ongoing by talking to their aides and advisers,” DPP spokesman Chou Chiang-chieh (周江杰) said.

Chou said there are still differences between the two sides on whether cellphone surveys would be used along with the landline poll to determine the support level for the candidates, and whether the polling would include questions on cross-comparison with other candidates, but the aim would be to finalize these issues next week.

Central Standing Committee member Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) told reporters that “maybe up to 40 percent of people no longer use landlines. So we hope to have the surveys done to conform to the current social conditions. We should keep up with the social changes and discuss how to best conduct the surveys with an open mind.”

“We should conduct the surveys to get as close to the public opinion as possible,” said committee member Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), known to be a leading supporter of Tsai.

In a media interview on Tuesday, Lai said that he would oppose any move toward the incorporation of cellphone interviews in the polling sample, saying that the method is susceptible to fraud and statistical manipulation.

Separately yesterday, a group of pro-Taiwan independence advocates, some claiming to be long-time DPP members, held a protest outside the DPP headquarters, saying that they do not believe in cellphone interviews.

They also said that some high-ranking DPP officials are trying to undermine Lai’s candidacy and to give Tsai an advantage in the presidential primary.

The protesters included Taiwan Independence Party chairman Huang Kuo-hua (黃國華), former Nation-Building Forum member Rishen Wu (吳日昇) and advocates from Happy National Connection in Taiwan, 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign and other organizations.

Separately yesterday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), asked about his opinion about using cellphone numbers as polling samples, said that it might not make much difference to other people, but would make a big difference for him.

“Frankly speaking, polling through cellphone surveys is not unattainable, but it would be complicated to determine its correctness,” Ko said, adding that young people seldom use landlines, but if cellphone polling is incorporated, it would need to be corrected based on the percentage of young people in each area.

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