The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will have to secure 700,000 votes more than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the south to win the presidential election next month, a senior aide in the DPP’s campaign team said.
The forecast reflected the nation’s basic electoral map, in which the DPP is dominant in the south and the KMT controls the north and east. Central Taiwan is a toss-up, said the aide, who wished to remain anonymous.
If DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) fails to win by more than 700,000 votes in the counties south of Yunlin — Yunlin, Chiayi and Pingtung counties, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung — “we are toast,” the aide said.
For the DPP, the outcome of the election comes down to whether the party can make up a losing margin in the north with its advantage in the south, “then we’ll try to do as well as we can in central Taiwan,” the aide said.
Further breaking down the Tsai campaign’s minimum goals in the south, the aide said the party would like to win Yunlin County by 90,000 votes, Chiayi and Pingting counties by 80,000, Greater Tainan by 210,000 and Greater Kaohsiung by 200,000.
The so-called “blue north and green south” phenomenon has seen both major political parties adopt almost the same philosophy by trying to increase their lead in their strongholds while losing less votes in regions where they have fewer supporters, the aide said.
Campaigning for Tsai yesterday at a rally in Chiayi, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said that the election is a north-south battle and supporters have to “help the DPP win big in the south to make up for its losses in the north.”
The DPP hopes that it will at least do better than it did in last year’s mayoral elections, when Tsai lost in New Taipei City (新北市) by about 100,000 votes and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) lost in Taipei by 170,000 votes.
“Our intelligence shows that the KMT has set an ambitious goal to beat us in Taipei and New Taipei City by 500,000 votes,” the aide said.
In terms of central Taiwan, which is expected to be the key battleground of the election, Tsai’s goal has been modest — she would like to break even in the region formerly known as Taichung City and to poll slightly better than the KMT in the region formerly known as Taichung County and in Changhua County.
The DPP expects to lose in the mountainous county of Nantou, the birthplace of Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) — President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) running mate.
“However, the losing margin could be small because Wu is not as popular in Nantou as some people think,” the aide said.
It will be very difficult for Tsai to win the Hakka constituencies of Miaoli, Hsinchu and Taoyuan, traditional strongholds of the KMT, the aide said, but the DPP has made headway in those regions and it will definitely fare much better than four years ago.
Among the Hakka-populated counties, Taoyuan is a “wild card,” where neither the DPP nor the KMT can predict voting behavior because of People First Party Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) late entry as the third candidate.
The aide estimated that Soong, who is expected to make the election more complex in Hakka and Aboriginal constituencies, would be able to win as many as 600,000 votes.
Barring the impact of KMT vote buying, the aide said he was “very optimistic” about Tsai’s chances in the election.
However, “the KMT will certainly leverage its party assets and place a lot of ‘resources’ in local districts,” the aide said.