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Lai leads Taiwan presidential poll despite hunger for change

Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation survey finds 59.4% want new government

Presidential candidates Lai Ching-te, Hou Yu-ih, and Ko Wen-je. 

Presidential candidates Lai Ching-te, Hou Yu-ih, and Ko Wen-je.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two weeks ahead of the presidential election Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) is still in the lead, even though a majority of voters want a change of government, according to a poll published Friday (Dec. 29).

According to the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF) survey, Lai received 32.4% of the votes, followed by Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) at 28.2%, and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) at 24.6%. Following three live televised presentations, the three candidates will face each other in the only live debate of the campaign on Saturday (Dec. 30) evening.

Since the gaps between the support levels for the three candidates are relatively small, it makes the Jan. 13 election one of the most difficult to predict, TPOF Chair Ying-lung You (游盈隆) said.

Despite Lai’s lead, 59.4% of respondents said they were hoping for a change in government. Meanwhile, 34.1% expressed the opposite view, that there was no need for the ruling party to be replaced.

Asked about who they thought was most likely to win the presidential election, 48.5% named Lai, with 21.2% mentioning Hou, and 15.7% choosing Ko. For the legislative elections also scheduled for Jan. 13, the KMT led with 31.5%, followed by the DPP at 28.9% and the TPP at 18.4% for the party votes.

The TPOF poll was conducted Dec. 22-24 and produced 1,071 valid samples with a margin of error at 2.99%.