Support for lowering the voting age to 18 is at 45.8 percent, 4.2 percentage points short of the 50 percent threshold needed to ratify the constitutional amendment, a survey released yesterday by a voting rights group showed.
A referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at lowering the voting age from 20 to 18 is to be held alongside the local elections on Nov. 26. It is the first referendum on amending the Constitution.
The poll showed the referendum could fail by a margin of 810,000 votes, Forward Alliance founder Enoch Wu (吳怡農) told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Taipei Times
Swing voters would be key in ratifying the proposed constitutional amendment, as 16 percent of that demographic remains undecided on the issue and more than 50 percent of them said they did not know the referendum would be on the ballot, he said.
Voting rights supporters should redouble their efforts to raise awareness and support for the amendment in the month that remains before the elections, he said.
People, groups and political parties that support lowering the voting age should prepare strategies to push through the referendum, he said, adding that now is the time for parties to show genuine commitment to the amendment.
The survey showed that popular support for the proposition has surged by 1 million voters from a previous poll in August, which showed only 39.5 percent of respondents approved of the initiative, Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy president Alvin Chang (張育萌) said.
“This is a heartening development, and it means we are a small step away from reaching the threshold,” he said, adding that pro-amendment candidates would move the needle if current trends hold.
The referendum should be as prominently featured in election campaigns as the names of candidates running for office, he said in a call for allies to communicate with voters about the issue at a grassroots level.
The voting age should be the same as the age of majority and eligibility for military conscription, said Lin Yu-sheng (林于聖), deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare.
Cross-analysis of the data showed that the more informed a respondent was about the referendum, the more likely they were to express support for it, which means that increasing awareness is the way forward, he said.
Focus Survey Research conducted the survey from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 in telephone interviews of people aged 20 or older. It collected 1,492 valid samples at a confidence level of 95 percent, with a margin of error of 2.54 percentage points.
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