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Taiwan poll puts President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen neck-and-neck

Taiwan poll puts President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen neck-and-neck

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou is only 1 percent ahead of Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen in an opinion poll published by the Chinese-language Liberty Times Friday. The difference is within the poll’s 2.56 percent margin of error.
Less than a month before the January 14 presidential and legislative elections, Ma received 34.5 percent to Tsai’s 33.26 percent, according to the survey. People First Party Chairman James Soong was a distant third at 10.81 percent.
Over the past three months, the parties exchanged fire over issues ranging from Ma’s proposal for a peace accord with China, the right level of pension stipends for farmers and allegations of corruption and illegality against Tsai and her running mate, Su Jia-chyuan.
The six opinion polls conducted by the Liberty Times over those three months show the leadership position changing hands between Ma and Tsai several times, but neither of the candidates succeeded in building a strong lead, the paper said.
The poll found 21.43 percent of voters who had not made up their mind yet.
Looking at young voters, the survey saw Tsai holding a strong lead of 32.76 percent against 25.29 percent for Ma for the age group from 20 to 29. Voters from 30 to 39 gave Tsai an even more pronounced 13-percent lead over Ma, according to the Liberty Times.
Tsai was also catching up with Ma in the traditional Kuomintang strongholds of Northern Taiwan, the paper said. She was only 1.83 percent behind the incumbent in New Taipei City.
The poll was conducted by phone from December 13 through 15, interviewing a total of 1,461 people of voting age.
Hopes or fears that a live televised debate between the three contenders on December 3 would provide a clear winner failed to materialize. Their running mates debated on December 10, while the main candidates will have a final opportunity for direct confrontation on Saturday.
The KMT said most polls showed it had achieved a stable lead, while the DPP said the situation was still at a stalemate, with a fifty-fifty chance of winning for both Tsai and Ma. A PFP spokesman said the showings in the Liberty Times poll were too far from the party’s own survey results.