Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) has been pushing for public opinion polls since he took office in March, staff members of the nation’s largest opposition party said.
Huang Hsin-hua (黃心華), vice president of the National Policy Foundation, a KMT-affiliated think tank, said that the party’s central committee, legislative caucus and think tank would jointly discuss issues that might concern the public, and entrust the foundation to conduct monthly opinion polls on selected issues.
In the past, the poll results were only used as basis for policy discussion within the KMT, he said.
However, the foundation has in the past few years been increasingly communicating the polling data they collected, an endeavor that Chiang supports, Huang said.
“Legislators are sensitive to issues that people are concerned about, and Chiang is one of the politicians in the pan-blue camp who are good at using Facebook and using data to increase his public profile,” Huang said. “The data Chiang uses naturally include results of opinion polls conducted by the party’s think tank. He also supports our attempts to find new ways to explore public opinion, such as including cellphone numbers in telephone surveys.”
Huang said that Chiang does not directly order staff members to conduct polls, but he would share news and research reports with them.
The foundation would constantly review these materials and find the issues that they could conduct polls on, Huang said.
KMT New Media Department Director Chang Chih-wei (張智瑋) said that Chiang, a former associate professor of politics at Soochow University, focuses on data, as he does not trust “feelings” that much.
Informed by the data, Chiang would discuss the issues at hand with people to find out the causes of their sentiment, Chang said.
In addition to the issue of imports of US pork containing residues of ractopamine, the party also used opinion polls as the basis for its policy positions related to crime and international issues, the KMT said.
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