Soong bid hurts KMT can­di­date, shows poll

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

The par­tic­i­pa­tion of Peo­ple First Party ( ) Chair­man James Soong ( ) in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion will most likely hurt rul­ing Kuom­intang (KMT) can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu ( ), a public opin­ion poll found Tues­day.

The re­sults of a poll com­mis­sioned by the Tai­wan Com­pet­i­tive­ness Fo­rum showed the race’s front-run­ner, Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) Chair­woman Tsai Ing-wen ( ), with 36 per­cent sup­port, ahead of Hung’s 26.9 per­cent and Soong’s 15.5 per­cent.

When asked about Soong’s im­pact on the race, 73.1 per­cent of re­spon­dents said Hung’s sup­port base will be eroded while 8.5 per­cent said he will draw votes away from Tsai’s sup­port base.

Fo­rum pres­i­dent Thomas Peng said that over­all Soong will have the great­est im­pact on Hung.

Split the Pan-blue Vote

An over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents (96.6 per­cent) said Soong’s par­tic­i­pa­tion would make a Tsai vic­tory more likely, com­pared with only 1.9 per­cent who felt his en­try into the race made it more likely that Hung will win.

“This shows that Soong’s par­tic­i­pa­tion will be more fa­vor­able to Tsai,” Peng said.

Soong, a for­mer KMT heavy­weight, set up the Peo­ple First Party af­ter los­ing a run for pres­i­dent as an in­de­pen­dent in 2000. In its early years, it eroded sup­port from the KMT, win­ning 46 seats in the Leg­is­la­ture in the 2001 elec­tions and 34 in the 2004 elec­tions.

But once a first-past-the-post sys­tem was in­sti­tuted in leg­isla­tive races in 2008, smaller par­ties like the PFP lost most of their seats and have strug­gled to re­main rel­e­vant since then.

In his run for pres­i­dent in 2012, Soong only man­aged to win 2.76 per­cent of the vote, com­pared with 51.60 per­cent for in­cum­bent Ma Ying-jeou and 45.63 per­cent for Tsai.

The DPP had hoped Soong would split the pan-blue vote with Ma, but it did not hap­pen.

With the KMT field­ing a weaker can­di­date this time and the party strug­gling to re­cover from a huge loss in lo­cal elec­tions in Novem­ber 2014, Soong fig­ures to have a far big­ger role in the race this year, and some polls have put him ahead of Hung.

Pop­u­lar­ity of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties

As for the pop­u­lar­ity of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, 36.7 per­cent said they sup­ported the KMT, 32.1 per­cent sup­ported the DPP, only 2.2 per­cent sup­ported the PFP, and 1.1 per­cent sup­ported another mi­nor party, the Tai­wan Sol­i­dar­ity Union.

On how re­spon­dents saw Tai­wan’s fu­ture rel­a­tive to China, 35.8 per­cent sup­ported main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo, 28.1 per­cent sup­ported a per­ma­nent sta­tus quo, 15.1 per­cent fa­vor main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo be­fore declar­ing in­de­pen­dence and 11.1 per­cent backed main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo be­fore even­tu­ally uni­fy­ing with China.

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