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Tsai ahead of all potential KMT rivals in presidential race: poll

2015/05/19 17:48:38

DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would beat any opponent from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) if the presidential election were held today, according to the results of a poll released Tuesday.

But the poll also found that the gap between Tsai and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was within the margin of error and her lead over KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) was less than six points, margins smaller than seen in other polls conducted in recent months.

She had commanding leads over the other potential KMT candidates included in the poll -- namely Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良).

Tsai, who has secured her party's nomination to run in the 2016 election, is considered the heavy favorite in the race because of the KMT's disarray following its big defeat in local government elections in November 2014 and the low approval ratings of President Ma Ying-jeou's administration.

Compounding the KMT's problems is that its two strongest potential candidates based on this and other polls -- Wang and Chu -- have indicated that they have no intention to run.

The poll, commissioned by the pro-DPP Taiwan Thinktank, found Tsai leading Wang by 44.1-41.3 percent margin and beating Chu, who is also mayor of New Taipei, by a 46.7-41 percent margin.

Her lead was much bigger against Wu (64.1-20.2 percent), Hung (63.6-21.5 percent) and Yaung (63.4-17.5 percent).

Only Hung and Yaung registered for the KMT's presidential primary.

The poll also found that Wang garnered the highest level of support to serve as the KMT's presidential candidate at 38.2 percent, followed by Chu at 29 percent, Wu at 6.2 percent, Yaung at 6 percent and Hung at 5.4 percent.

Wang, who has served as legislative speaker since 1999, decided against participating in the KMT presidential primary, saying on May 15 that he may not have done enough to convince the public that he could shoulder great responsibility.

Chu reiterated that he would not throw his hat into the ring because he wanted to keep his promise made during last year's local elections to serve out his four-year term.

The poll found, meanwhile, that only 15.4 percent of respondents thought that cross-strait exchanges should be based on the "1992 consensus," a formula supported by the KMT in managing relations with China.

The term refers to a tacit understanding between Taiwanese and Chinese negotiators in Hong Kong that there is only one China with each side free to interpret what that means.

The DPP argues that the consensus never existed, but China, focusing on the "one China" part of the consensus, has made it a key component of its Taiwan policy.

In another of the poll's findings, 58.9 percent of respondents thought that a recent meeting between Chu and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (習近平), general secretary of Communist Party of China, in Beijing did not help boost the prospects of the KMT in the 2016 race.

The poll, conducted on May 16, collected 1,079 valid samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(By Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)
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Related:
●May 15: Legislative speaker hints at not running in 2016 presidential race
●May 16: KMT chair reiterates he will not run in 2016 presidential election
●May 17: KMT's Hung registers for presidential primary
●May 18: Second KMT presidential hopeful registers in primary