Focus Taiwan: In legislative race, polls unclear on whether DPP can keep majority

In polls gauging support for political parties in the at-large legislator races, a poll conducted Dec. 25-26 gave the DPP a 32.4 percent-22.5 percent edge over the KMT.

Another 9.6 percent went to the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) — a new party created by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲)– and 7.2 percent went to the NPP.

Those vote totals would translate to 15 seats for the DPP, 11 for the KMT, five for the TPP and three for the NPP, according to the poll.

Other polls showed a similar edge for the DPP, although it would fall short of the party’s 18 at-large seats it won in 2016.

No polls have estimated how many seats the parties will win in the 73 races for directly elected seats, but the DPP also held an edge when voters were asked which party’s candidates it would vote for.

The DPP led the KMT by a 33.4 percent-24.3 percent margin in the my-formosa poll and a 36.5 percent-21.7 percent edge in an Apple Daily poll, but many respondents (23.4 percent and 31.2 percent in the two polls, respectively) said they were undecided.

The KMT’s infighting over its slate of at-large candidates, its seeming divide between presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and other party heavyweights, and lack of a clear message to counter Tsai’s view on China lowered its favorability rating to 28.9 percent in December, compared to 47.3 percent for the DPP.

The biggest gaffe came in November, when it nominated retired Lt. Gen. Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) to the No. 4 spot in its slate of at-large legislator candidates, nearly ensuring his election to the Legislature.

Even with that 18-point gap, the TPOF poll, conducted Dec. 23-24, only gave the DPP a 33 percent-26 percent edge over the KMT in the party poll for at-large candidates.

But the TPOF said that based on past elections, the strength of voter identification with parties, reflected in the favorability ratings, decide election outcomes.

The DPP said it expects to win 53-61 seats, while the KMT said it still has a chance of gaining a legislative majority with 57 seats, a projection that appears unlikely, given the poll numbers.

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