A poll conducted by the Taiwan Brain Trust think tank found that support for presumptive Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) has tumbled in the past month, falling from 31 percent last month to 21 percent in a one-to-one match-up against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
According to the poll, the results of which were released yesterday, Tsai maintains her lead over both Hung — with 54.3 percent to 21.3 percent — and the People First Party’s (PFP) James Soong (宋楚瑜) — with 52.3 percent to 29.3 percent — in one-to-one match-ups.
Tsai also leads in the scenario in which both Hung and Soong contest the election, with Tsai enjoying 46.5 percent support over Hung’s 17 percent and Soong’s 23.6 percent.
“However, in the Tsai versus Hung contest, in which Hung’s numbers have plunged, the number of those who said they are undecided has increased from 13.7 percent [in June] to 24.4 percent [this month]. It shows that the loss of support on Hung’s part has not gone to Tsai,” said think tank director Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political scientist at Soochow University.
“That might be due to Hung’s recent controversial remarks or the political atmosphere. It calls for continued attention after the KMT’s national congress on Sunday [tomorrow], in which Hung is expected to secure the party’s presidential nomination,” he added.
Hsu said that another interesting finding was that Tsai, when facing Hung and Soong individually, has about 20 percent of pan-blue voters’ support, which indicates that the presidential election does not simply pit the pan-blue camp against the pan-green camp.
“Hung’s ‘one China, same interpretation’ might have alienated some pan-blue voters,” Hsu said.
“Soong joining the race would divide the pan-blue camp’s votes, relegating Hung to third place. While it would have little effect on Tsai’s prospects for winning, his taking part in the campaign might give his party a boost in the legislative elections, and consequently change the composition of the legislature,” Hsu added.
Regarding the legislative elections, the poll shows that the DPP has 38.2 percent of support as a party, compared with the KMT’s 20.5 percent, the PFP’s 8.3 percent, the Taiwan Solidarity Party’s 3.7 percent and the New Party’s 0.9 percent.
The “third force,” including the Green Party and the newly founded New Power Party, Social Democratic Party, Free Taiwan Party and Taiwan Independence Action Party, together have 8.3 percent of support.
“It depends on how well they can integrate to see whether they can cross the 5 percent threshold [to have legislator-at-large seats],” Hsu told reporters.
The think tank also surveyed people’s responses to Hung’s “one China, same interpretation” cross-strait proposal and found 61.2 percent disapprove of the policy.
“Even among the pan-blue voters, 40.1 percent said they do not agree with the policy,” Taiwan Brain Trust associate executive director Lin Ting-hui (林廷輝) said. “It shows that Taiwanese are highly skeptical of the proposal.”
Hung’s policy is an attempt to change the “status quo” and a sign that the KMT’s cross-strait policy is unpredictable and volatile, Lin said.
“It also indicates Hung’s lack of ability in dealing with cross-strait issues and her team’s incompetence,” Lin said.
The poll also saw a new high for the past 20 months in the public’s support of the view that Taiwan is currently a sovereign country, which hit 76 percent.
Curiously, those aged 40 to 49 were most likely to hold that view, at 80.3 percent, while 32.3 percent of respondents aged 20 to 29 disagreed.
“However, 84.1 percent of those aged 20 to 29 and 76 percent of the 30 to 39 age group said Taiwan should become an independent country in the future,” research department director Li Ming-juinn (李明峻) said.
“That demonstrates that young people are apparently not satisfied with Taiwan’s current state, and they are the future generation,” he said.
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