Hyperpartisanship in Taiwan Media and Electorate

Prepared for presentation at the APSA Conference Group on Taiwan Studies (CGOTS) Annual Meeting, September 16th , 2022.

Karl Ho Cal Clark ​Alexander C. Tan
University of Texas at Dallas ​Auburn University University of Canterbury & National Chengchi University


  • Is Taiwan polarized?

  • Is Taiwan in hyperpartisan era?

Political Polarization: Three Party Structure

Polarization, media and hyperpartisanship

Polarization, media and hyperpartisanship

What is hyperpartisanship?


  • Communication studies 
  • Digital Journalism
    • Alt-right, Alt-left news channels
    • Negative
    • Fake news, disinformation
  • Related concepts:
    • Affective polarization
      • Elite/party vs. mass/voter
    • Sorting

What is hyperpartisanship?

Michael Kang (Boston College Law Review 2020):

  • two cohesive and hostile camps

  • voter animosity

  • ideologically polarized

  • [the other party is] “so misguided that it threatens the nation’s well-being”

  • the out-party surpasses racial prejudice

  • [one camp is] fearful of the other side

  • antagonistic

  • internally unified teams with clear, contrary positions

  • rig the rules of the game in their favor and gouge the other party in [an] outrageous fashion.

What is hyperpartisanship?

  • Exaggerated form of partisanship or partisan extremism.
  • Beyond sorting 
  • US: 
    • Breitbart news
    • The Young Turks
    • Chapo Trap House
    • Occupy Democrats

What is hyperpartisanship?

  1. Strong or superlatively partisan attachment

    • Hyperpartisans are usually strong political party supporters who identify as close or very close to one political party.

  2. Exclusivity

    • Hyperpartisans are highly exclusive of the identified rival, opposite party or camp.

  3. Hostility

    1. Hyperpartisans treat oppositive party or camp with high level of hostility with the often use of the verbs of “hate”, “despise”.

  4. Apprehension

    • Hyperpartisans consider other rival party or camp as threatening and associate it with a negative or highly negative labels

What is hyperpartisanship?

  • Taiwan                                                  


  • Taiwan Institute for Governance and Communication Research (TIGCR) (https://tigcr.nccu.edu.tw/en/)
  • Surveys on media usage and political attitudes and political behavior since 2018.
    • Face-to-face, internet, telephone interviews
    • Longitudinal design and generally low rate of attritions (40%)
    • Four-wave panel (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), 4,470 cases each year (total N=17,800)
    • Allows dynamic modeling

Mixed Effect Logit Models

Mixed Effect Logit Models

Structure of the Negative Partisan Sentiments and Exclusivity: Correlation Heatmap

  • hatekmt/hatedpp:
    • Which of the following ethnic groups do you hate the most?
  • angrykmt/angrykpp:
    • Which political party ever made you feel angry?
  • threatkmt/threatdpp:
    • From point 0-10, how many points will you grade KMT/DPP as threatening to the normal development of the country?
  • negkmt/negdpp:
    • From point 0-10, how many points will you grade KMT/DPP from "no negative impression" to "very negative impression"?
  • marriedkmt/marriedpp:
    • How would you feel if you had a son or daughter who married a KMT/DPP's supporter? Very disappointed/upset to not disappointed/upset at all?

Figure 7. Structural models of Hyperpartisans, DPP and KMT

Hyperpartisan_DPP Hyperpartisan_KMT
Chi2 (df=3) 14.738 11.206
p 0.002 0.011
RMSEA 0.019 0.016
CFI 0.999 0.999

Hyperpartisanship and Talkshow:

Panel Vector Autoregression

VAR Granger Causality Wald test: Talkshow Granger-causes Hyperpartisanship

Eigenvalue Stability and Impulse-Response Plots for the Panel Vector Autoregression

Eigenvalue Stability and Impulse-Response Plots for the Panel Vector Autoregression

Eigenvalue Stability and Impulse-Response Plots for the Panel Vector Autoregression

Summary of findings

  • Hyperpartisanship is different from sorting or partisanship

    • Exclusivity

    • High negative sentiments

      • Hostility

      • Apprehension

  • Media effect: weak exogeneity

  • New hypotheses:

    • Exposure to highly partisan political talkshows reinforces partisan position, fostering hyperpartisanship

    • Hyperpartisanship is a combination of attitudes and affects, beyond rational models.

Conclusion and implications

  • Preliminary findings on hyperpartisanship

  • Sorting and affect polarization

  • Traditional partisanship studies vs. hyperpartisanship:

    • media effect

    • self-media

    • populism

    • US media bias

  • Impact on Party system

Thank you!

Questions or suggestions will be most welcome!