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35% of voters in Taiwan remain undecided: poll

TPOF poll predicts big win for Democratic Progressive Party, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen

Taiwanese presidential candidates in televised debate on Sunday. (Dec. 29)

Taiwanese presidential candidates in televised debate on Sunday. (Dec. 29) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections just 11 days away, a poll shows 35 percent of voters to be undecided, and of the 61 percent who are decided, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her running mate William Lai (賴清德) are favored by 52.5 percent.

The poll, which was conducted by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF), shows that the Tsai-Lai ticket has widened its lead over the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Simon Chang (張善政), up 30.6 percentage points from 29 points in November.

Meanwhile, People First Party Chairman and presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) and his running mate Sandra Yu (余湘) saw support increase to 9.5 percent in December from 7.6 percent last month.

TPOF Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) noted that the foundation's polls showed the percentage of floating voters to be 32.5 percent ahead of the 2012 presidential elections.

35% of voters in Taiwan remain undecided: poll
Survey question: Whom would you vote for if tomorrow were election day? (TPOF photo)

Of the three presidential candidates, Tsai was voted the most likable. She scored 57.92 out of 100 on the survey's "feeling thermometer," followed by Soong at 46.21 and Han in last place with a mere 38.17. Tsai's likeability rating has fluctuated from a high of 69.08 percent in May 2016 to a low of 42.98 in December 2018.

Han has seen a precipitous drop in "likeability" from 62.12 in December 2018 to an all-time low of 38.17 in December, thanks to a string of property acquisition scandals, controversial remarks by the candidate and his wife, and concerns over his and the KMT's ties with Communist China.

You called Han's low likeability score "unprecedented" and "disastrous." In the U.S.'s 2016 presidential election, both of the controversial hopefuls, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, scored around 43, but with Tsai's yawning lead, You views a turnaround for Han to be unlikely.

As for the Taiwan independence issue, the DPP's pro-independence political views resonate with 46 percent of Taiwanese voters, while 27 percent prefer the status quo and 12 percent support unification with China. You pointed out that the results once again bust the myth that most Taiwanese are in favor of maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

35% of voters in Taiwan remain undecided: poll
Survey question: Respondents' views on independence. (TPOF photo)

The TPOF poll predicted that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would have a commanding lead in the January elections.

When asked about their favored party in the legislative-at-large elections, 33.6 percent of respondents chose the DPP, whereas 26 percent indicated they would vote for the KMT. The Taiwan People's Party (TPP) led by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) came in third with 7.2 percent support followed by the New Power Party (NPP) at 4.5 percent.

The survey was carried out via telephone Dec. 23-24. The poll gathered 1,075 valid samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.