Tue, May 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

PARTY PRIMARIES: William Lai says stance on polling misinterpreted

By Yang Chun-hui and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former premier William Lai, center, speaks in front of a campaign van in Keelung yesterday.

Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times

Former premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that the media had misinterpreted his stance on cellphone interviews for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary, as he would support the method if it were proven fair and accurate.

Lai and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) are seeking the party’s nomination as its candidate for next year’s presidential election.

The party headquarters in March published its regulations for the primary, which state that only landlines would be used for telephone polling.

Tsai last week suggested including cellphone surveys, as the cellphone penetration rate in Taiwan is greater than that for landlines.

Lai at the time was reported as saying that he was opposed to the method because it is susceptible to fraud and statistical manipulation.

However, he said yesterday that he is not against cellphone polling.

“The media said I am opposed to cellphone polls, but that is a misinterpretation. There is nothing inherently wrong with cellphone polls. My issue is that the method has to be scientifically proven,” he said.

Conducting a credible poll requires a tested statistical model, sampling methodology and question design, which are lacking for cellphone surveys, he said.

Additionally, cellphone numbers have no area codes and they could be owned by foreigners, making it more difficult to incorporate results, he said.

“As a licensed doctor, I know that pharmaceuticals are vigorously tested in clinical trials before they can become prescription medicines,” Lai said. “I would welcome the use of cellphone polls, but before they are adopted, the party has to test them for a year or two.”

Lai yesterday started a hashtag campaign for his presidential nomination bid.

Accompanied by entertainer Kuo Tzu-chien (郭子乾), who impersonated Lai playing a character named Lai Ching-te (賴青德), the former premier announced that from yesterday, his campaign would have a van touring the nation to talk to voters about his platform.

Members of the public who take a selfie with the van and hashtag the phrase “support only William Lai” (“唯一支持賴清德”) would be treated to a cup of coffee, he said, adding that if time provides, he would accompany the van to chat with people over coffee.

The van departed from William Lai’s home district of Wanli (萬里) in New Taipei City yesterday afternoon.

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