Political Polarization and Voting Turnout in Taiwan

Karl Ho

University of Texas at Dallas

Background

Background

  1. Is Taiwan politics becoming more volatile?

  2. How much do the issue impacts change from elections to elections?

  3. What is the outlook of the 2020 elections?

In 2018, the ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered major defeats in local and mayoral elections.  The loss in the south including Kaohsiung was unprecedented.

Logistic Regression: Issue Impacts on Tsai Vote (2016)
Clark, Ho and Tan (2016)

Findings: 2004-2016 Surveys

  1. Party identification variables have strong effects guiding the issue variables.

  2. Three important variables stand out:

    1. National identity issue (Independence vs. unification)

    2. Economic evaluations 

    3. Taiwanese identity (Taiwanese vs. Chinese)

  3. Demographic variables are weak (age, income.

  4. Effect sizes vary, even though the same metrics are used (1,0)

New methods

  1. We run regression models using resampled data with all combinations of relevant variables.  

  2. Each year, we estimated over 16,000 models to test the stability of the effects.

Figure 2. Issue effects in Taiwan elections:
Support Independence

Closer to middle red line means the weakening of effects

Note the stronger negative impact on KMT in 2016

Figure 3. Issue effects in Taiwan elections:
Economic evaluations

Figure 4. Issue effects in Taiwan elections:
Taiwanese

Summary

  1. Asymmetry of impacts in the national identity continuum prevails.  Independence proponents have been showing stronger support for DPP than unification proponents to KMT.

  2. Taiwanese identity polarizes further the blue and green in 2016.

  3. Economic factors may not be the predominant driving forces of future elections, in competition with other identity factors and party effects.

Trends of public opinion data

  • Multiple candidates from more than blue and green camps comparing to Blue vs. Green in the past

  • Many many more surveys of different modes:

    • Telephone

      • Landline

      • Mobile

    • Internet

    • Face-to-face

  • Social media, internet data: Big data methods

DPP competitions

Source: ETtoday (https://www.ettoday.net/news/20190515/1444988.htm)

DPP competitions

Source: ETtoday (https://www.ettoday.net/news/20190515/1444988.htm)

KMT competitions

Viable candidates: Terry Guo vs. Han Kuo-yu

Source: 無情真實的未來預測 (https://tsjh301.blogspot.com)

KMT competitions

Viable candidates: Terry Guo vs. Han Kuo-yu

  • Determining factors
    • Polls
    • Internet data
      • volume, name recognition, discussion
      • supporting networks
    • Events leading to January, 2019

Survey Data: Han-Ko-Tsai

Date Han Kuo-yu Ko Wen-je Tsai Ing-wen Lead
March, 2019 36.7% 27.9% 20.3% 9.0%
April, 2019 38.6% 25.3% 23.5% 13.7%
May, 2019 35.3% 24.6% 25.7% 10.0%
Note: Averages from 18 surveys by multiple pollsters
Source: 無情真實的未來預測 (https://tsjh301.blogspot.com)

Survey Data: Han-Ko-Tsai

Note: Averages from 18 surveys by multiple pollsters
Source: 無情真實的未來預測 (https://tsjh301.blogspot.com)

Survey data

調查單位 「樣本」 發布日期 韓國瑜 柯文哲 蔡英文 領先 中立/未表
TVBS民調 1,015 3/20/19 38.0% 28.0% 18.0% 10.0% 16.0%
美麗島民調 1,072 3/26/19 35.4% 27.8% 22.6% 8.0% 14.2%
山水民調 1,087 4/2/19 37.4% 30.1% 22.3% 7.0% 10.2%
世新大學 1,068 4/18/19 40.1% 26.5% 26.2% 14.0% 7.2%
美麗島民調 1,087 4/20/19 37.8% 22.9% 24.8% 13.0% 14.5%
聯合報 1,178 4/22/19 36.0% 26.0% 20.0% 10.0% 18.0%
ET民調(含網路) 7,868 4/23/19 38.9% 23.0% 27.8% 11.0% 10.3%
TVBS民調 1,222 4/26/19 42.0% 25.0% 22.0% 17.0% 11.0%
美麗島民調 1,068 4/29/19 32.3% 24.1% 24.3% 18.0% 19.3%
旺旺中時 1,004 5/1/19 41.1% 25.0% 20.9% 16.0% 13.0%
TVBS民調 1,222 4/26/19 42.0% 25.0% 23.0% 17.0% 10.0%
趨勢民調 1,069 5/3/19 35.4% 23.4% 28.0% 7.0% 13.2%
循證民調 1,101 5/3/19 32.6% 26.0% 27.9% 5.0% 13.5%
遠見調查 1,166 5/8/19 36.3% 27.1% 20.6% 19.0% 16.0%
TVBS民調 951 5/10/19 39.0% 26.0% 25.0% 13.0% 10.0%
典通民調 1,077 5/14/19 34.3% 22.7% 28.3% 6.0% 14.7%
台灣指標 1,188 5/15/19 31.5% 24.1% 25.0% 7.0% 19.4%
ET民調(含網路) 3,489 5/15/19 38.2% 22.7% 25.4% 13.0% 13.7%

Survey Data: Gou-Ko-Tsai

Note: Averages from 14 surveys by multiple pollsters
Source: 無情真實的未來預測 (https://tsjh301.blogspot.com)
Date Terry Guo Ko Wen-je Tsai Ing-wen Lead
April, 2019 32.1% 26.7% 24.1% 5.9%
May, 2019 29.5% 26.8% 26.4% 3.2%

Survey Data: Gou-Ko-Tsai

Note: Averages from 14 surveys by multiple pollsters
Source: 無情真實的未來預測 (https://tsjh301.blogspot.com)

Survey data

調查單位 「樣本」 發布日期 郭台銘 柯文哲 蔡英文 領先 中立/未表
山水民調 1,087 4/2/19 33.1% 33.1% 24.1% 0.0% 9.7%
世新大學 1,068 4/18/19 35.6% 25.2% 20.2% 10.0% 19.0%
美麗島民調 1,087 4/20/19 34.1% 24.3% 24.7% 9.0% 16.9%
聯合報 1,178 4/22/19 31.0% 27.0% 20.0% 4.0% 22.0%
展欣手機民調 1,011 4/22/19 32.1% 26.0% 31.3% 6.0% 10.6%
ET民調(含網路) 7,868 4/23/19 35.8% 22.7% 27.1% 13.0% 14.4%
TVBS民調 1,222 4/26/19 31.0% 28.0% 22.0% 3.0% 19.0%
美麗島民調 1,068 4/29/19 23.1% 26.4% 25.5% 3.0% 25.0%
TVBS民調 1,222 4/26/19 33.0% 28.0% 22.0% 5.0% 17.0%
趨勢民調 1,069 5/3/19 25.7% 28.5% 27.6% 3.0% 18.2%
循證民調 1,101 5/3/19 27.9% 29.1% 27.3% 1.0% 15.7%
TVBS民調 951 5/10/19 31.0% 30.0% 24.0% 1.0% 15.0%
典通民調 1,077 5/14/19 27.6% 23.6% 28.4% 1.0% 20.4%
ET民調(含網路) 3,489 5/15/19 35.1% 22.7% 24.8% 10.0% 17.4%

Internet Data

Source: SwayStrategy

US influence

US influence

US influence

US influence

US Influence

  • Presidential Phone call: Trump and Tsai

  • Armament sales

  • Congressional bills/laws on Taiwan:

    • Taiwan Relations Act

    • Taiwan Travel Act

    • Taiwan Assurance Act  

China factors

  • 1996: Missile crisis

  • 2000's: ECFA, CSSTA 

  • Since 2016:

    • Row over "92 Consensus"

    • Ban Taiwan from WHA, ICAO

    • De-recognitions (by five countries)

    • Xi's address to Taiwan "Compatriots"

"Turning point" factors

  • Trade war

  • Triangular equilibrium challenged

    • Rising China vs. US withdrawal
    • Relative vulnarability of Taiwan 
  • Asymmetry in Taiwan elections

    • Other External factors
    • Support network structures
    • Generational divide

Discussions

  • Long cycle observations

    • Electoral cycle

    • Comparative developments

    • Party system in tact?

  • Short term forces

  • It is a democracy!

Thank you!

Political Polarization and Voting Turnout in Taiwan

By Karl Ho

Political Polarization and Voting Turnout in Taiwan

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