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With DPP, KMT presidential candidates set, poll gives Tsai the edge

2019/07/17 16:19:30

Taipei, July 17 (CNA) The first poll taken after the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) confirmed Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) as its presidential candidate has shown him clearly trailing President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in a two-way race.

It also indicated, as other polls have in recent weeks, that the entry of independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) into the race would tighten the gap between the two front-runners.

The telephone-based poll was conducted by the green-leaning (pro-Democratic Progressive Party) Cross-Strait Policy Association (CSPA) on the evenings of July 15 and July 16, after Han's victory in the KMT primary was announced on the morning of July 15.

In a two-way race against Han, Tsai defeated the Kaohsiung mayor by a 45.9 percent to 39 percent margin, according to the survey results presented Wednesday.

When Ko, who has yet to formally declare his candidacy, was included, Tsai won 36.3 percent support to Han's 33.7 percent and Ko's 22.3 percent, the poll found.

Even if Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) joined the election and turned it into a four-way race, Tsai (33.1 percent) and Han (29.9 percent) remained at the top, while Gou and Ko received 16.9 percent and 14 percent support, respectively.

In another scenario, if Gou and Ko joined forces on the same ticket, they would only receive 26.3 percent support, compared with 33.5 percent for Tsai and 32.4 percent for Han.

CSPA Chairman Tan Yao-nan (譚耀南) said the results illustrated the role an independent candidate such as Ko could play in the race.

"If you look at the numbers, the margin between Tsai and Han fell within the margin of error either if they competed in a three-way race including Ko...or in an election where Ko and Gou ran together against the two," Tan said in presenting the results.

Gou finished second in the KMT primary to Han, receiving 27.7 percent support to Han's 44.8 percent support when several poll results were combined and weighted for different factors, but there is speculation he could still be interested in running for the presidency.

According to the CSPA, its poll collected a total of 1,077 valid samples, with a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.

Lin Ting-hui (林廷輝), deputy secretary-general of the Taiwanese Society of International Law, said Tsai should step up her efforts to garner support from the younger generation, as Ko may eat into the president's base of young voters if he enters the election.

"Both Tsai and Ko are aiming for the support of young people," Lin said.

He cited the noticeable drop in the percentage of support Tsai received from respondents aged between 20 and 29 in the CSPA survey from 59.5 percent in a two-way race against Han to only 43.7 percent if Ko joined the election.

The survey also looked at how well respondents thought Tsai was doing at her job, and it found that 41.5 percent approved of her performance while 54.5 percent disapproved.

Meanwhile, as the CSPA poll was conducted after Tsai embarked on a 12-day visit to two cities in the United States and Taiwan's four Caribbean allies on July 11, it sought to gauge public opinion on Tsai's foreign policy performance.

Asked if they were satisfied with the president's foreign policy, 46.6 percent of respondents said they were and 47.8 percent said they were not, the poll found.

As for Tsai's policy on China, 49.4 percent of those polled were not happy with it, against 45 percent who were.

(By Stacy Hsu)