Friday, December 30, 2011

Hans Stockton博士對台灣2012年1月14日選舉之分析

Part 1: Taiwan’s Presidential Race down to the Wire: What will Mean the Difference?

Six months ago, the 2012 general election on Taiwan looked like a fairly sure, if not highly competitive, two-party race between the incumbent president Dr. Ma Ing-jeou and his challenger from the Democratic Progressive Party, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Although local and legislative bi- elections signaled some rise in voter discontent with the KMT since its landslide victories in 2008, it appeared that a Ma victory in 2012 would also signal continued KMT dominance in the legislative yuan as well. What a difference, however, does six months make.

Starting with what was likely a 10-point advantage over Tsai Ing-wen in a two-candidate race, the Ma campaign has suffered several key stumbling blocks that have now reduced his incumbency advantage to nearly zero. First, the ill-received announcement of his consideration of a peace treaty with Beijing was perceived by many moderate voters as going too far, too soon and was seemingly made without regard to survey data that continues to indicate some hesitance among the general population that the pace of cross-strait relations was a bit too fast. Clearly, also, the suggestion of a peace treaty raised questions about Taiwan’s status in such a treaty and none believed that Beijing would negotiate with Taipei in recognition of its sovereignty. Also, Tsai has found support for her calls to “democratize” future expansion of cross-strait links by promising more transparency and accountability in future dealings with the mainland. Secondly, the initially minor incident of the “piggy bank” donations to the Tsai campaign became a major rallying point for the DPP grass roots campaign. As well, the manner in which the KMT attempted to frame the initial incident as a campaign violation and the DPP’s effort to exploit children backfired as being a bit draconian. Third, the most recent effort by the KMT to cast shadows on the Tsai campaign has been the charge of Dr. Tsai’s impropriety in the Yu Chang case. While the potential for some impropriety deserves consideration and proper investigation, the alteration of key documents presented by the KMT has cast doubt on the validity of the very charge and the effort to tarnish Tsai’s ethics has largely backfired. Fourth, and perhaps the biggest shock, was Mr. James Soong’s entry into the race. Mr. Soong’s entry not only poses the real possibility of siphoning blue votes from KMT, but also signaled the revival of the People First Party in the legislative races. PFP candidates have registered to compete in ten district races as well as the national at-large constituency.

Of the four points above, which matters most in the election outcome? The first three have bolstered Tsai’s support among green voters and energized her campaign in a way that should attract a strong green supporter turn-out. What is most important here is whether her campaign will mobilize the 2-3% of “dark green” voters that essentially dropped out of 2008 elections due to disillusionment with the DPP’s corruption tainted record. Additionally, the DPP lost moderate and light-green voters in 2008 as a result of “exhaustion” from the identity agenda of the Chen administration. By not elevating the identity issue to the fore as in past elections, Dr. Tsai is likely to bring another 2-3% of moderate voters back to the party. In the minds of some non- committed voters, the KMT’s actions have been perceived as mean-spirited and disingenuine, and this, combined with other variables, will likely increase Tsai’s support among moderate
and “light blue” voters. These are marginal effects compared to Mr. Soong’s entry into the race, and Mr. Soong’s success or failure is largely where the election outcome hinges. A strong showing by Mr. Soong will siphon more votes away from the KMT than from the DPP, and this is the crux of the result.

While the “1992 Consensus” continues to be a constant source of contention, the larger issue of identity has taken a back seat in the past month, because previous tests by both candidates have failed to incite the same voter passions as in past elections. This marks a change in the campaigning of the DPP, with the Tsai campaign capitalizing on the KMT’s own mistakes and making concerted efforts to promote policy issues related more to the daily lives of Taiwan’s people and the fear of growing income inequity. Avoiding the turbulent issue of identity, success with a grass-roots campaign, and capitalizing on KMT missteps have bolstered Tsai’s chances.

Without a doubt, Taiwan’s overall economy is in much better shape than at the close of 2008 and 2009 and the Ma administration has taken credit. However, the lofty campaign goals of Mr. Ma’s 6-6-3 promises have failed to take shape and the DPP has successfully pushed the question of income inequity and under-employment of young workers to the fore. ECFA, and related agreements with Beijing, have generated new markets, inbound tourism, and reduced overt military tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. However, uncertainty about the long-term economic impacts and the pace of rapprochement continue to detract somewhat from these successes. These speak to committed blue voters, but do not necessarily secure the support of undecided and light green voters.

It seems that the DPP is utilizing a form of kung fu that uses the opponent’s strength against him. Rather than seek a “killing blow,” the Tsai campaign has been quite successful in not just deflecting attacks by the KMT, but turning these against the incumbent, such as in the “piggy bank” and Yu Chang episodes. Even efforts by the Ma campaign to attach the Chen Shui- bian stigma to Tsai have failed to gain momentum. Dr. Tsai’s best defense has been the simple statement, “I am not Chen.”

So, how can we quantify this story to begin to shape some sort of election forecast? For starters, Tsai has to make up a 17% point difference from the 2008 election in order to win. In a two- candidate race, this lead is not as large as it might seem, because only 8.5% of voters would have to switch from KMT to DPP support. However, a 3-candidate race makes the scenario much more difficult. Current surveys show support for Mr. Soong at about 10%. Based on the 2008 results, this would reduce Ma’s support from 58.45% to 48.45% against the DPP’s 41.55%; a gap of about 6% to overcome when including about 1% of total votes cast that are nullified as invalid based on past elections. This equates to about 650,000 votes that Tsai needs to pick up for victory. A major assumption here is that the lion’s share of votes going to Mr. Soong will come from past KMT voters and not siphon off significant DPP support from Dr. Tsai.

If Tsai increases the DPP vote by 5% points, this would result in 46.5% of the popular vote. If Soong received 10% of the vote, then this would result in 43.5% of the vote going to President Ma. So, the key for Tsai is increasing her vote share by from 5 – 6% percent. From where will these votes come – revived “dark green” voters; first-time voters; and a slightly larger share of moderate or non-committed voters.

If about 2% of all Taiwan voters that are “dark green” failed to vote in 2008 for the reasons stated above, and exercise their vote in 2012, this adds about 262,079 votes to the DPP total. If 50% of the approximately one million first-time voters actually vote, and 60% vote for DPP (as indicated in surveys), then this adds another 100,000 votes to the DPP quota. This results in a total vote pick-up of 362, 079 of the necessary 650,000 needed. This leaves a remainder of 287,921 votes that Dr. Tsai has to generate from the pool of voters that cast their ballots for Dr. Ma in 2012 or 2.2% of all those having voted in the last election. We will find out in two weeks if Dr. Tsai’s efforts have been sufficient to generate this shift.

There is a common expression in the United States, “When given lemons, make lemonade.” Essentially, this means that faced with challenges, do your best to create good outcomes. The Ma campaign has sought to present the Taiwan voter as much lemonade as possible. The Tsai campaign, however, has been pretty successful at turning that lemonade back into lemons in the minds of many undecided voters.

We should not forget the landlside victory of the KMT in 2008 and just how many votes the KMT can afford to lose and still come out on top in 2012. Mr. Ma won with a 17% point victory over Mr. Hsieh and his party captured a super majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan. None of the issues above are “terminal” to the KMT or guarantees of success for the DPP. The DPP will have to cobble together large bits and pieces of support across the island. The party must significantly increase its vote share in the most populated northern and central areas Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, and Taichung. With two weeks to go before January 14, the election is barely Mr. Ma’s to lose, but this is tenuous.
Lest we forget, this year marks the first combined presidential and legislative election. While most of the attention has been focused on the presidential race, the outcome of elections for Taiwan’s legislative branch will determine how smoothly the next administration will be able to pursue its agenda. Although the DPP recovered lost ground in bi-elections after 2008, the KMT still holds 65% of all legislative seats. With a rise in support for the DPP and the entry of the PFP in the race, what are the prospects for the balance of legislative power? Will the presidential victor face an opposition legislative majority or will Taiwan continue with another four years of unified power between the executive and legislative branches? These scenarios will be presented in part two of this essay.

This project was conducted with the gracious research assistance of Ms. Ching-Hsuan (Christine) Meng (孟慶萱).

Hans Stockton (史漢傑), PhD, is the director of the Center for International Studies and
the Cullen Trust for Higher Education/Fayez Sarofim Endowed Chair in International Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. He has studied Taiwan’s politics for more than twenty years and has observed every national election on Taiwan since 1992. He will be a member of an international delegation of election observers in Taiwan for the upcoming election.

Part II: Projecting Possible Outcomes for the 2012 8th Legislative Election

Thus far, attention to Taiwan’s legislative races has taken a backseat to the hotly contested presidential race. Clearly, the single most important political position in Taiwan is the head of state, but that head of state – whether it be Dr. Ma Ing-jeou or Dr. Tsai Ing-wen - must heavily rely on the legislative body to put into motion their respective party platforms. The 2008 landslide victory of the KMT created a single party government not seen since the pre- democracy days, and this has given President Ma the space to pursue his agenda with little parliamentary opposition. Coming out of the 2008 parliamentary ballot, the KMT won a super majority of seats (71.7%). Combined with allied parties, the blue camp controlled more than 75% of the seats, reducing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a mere opposition shadow at just under 24% of seats.

Since January 2008, there have been eleven legislative bi-elections to fill vacated seats. The DPP won seven of these races, six of which were against KMT incumbents. The KMT retained its control of three districts, while losing one incumbent seat to a KMT maverick in Miaoli County. In three of the eight bi-election defeats, KMT mavericks cost the KMT the margin of victory, a reminder that party unity continues to be key to KMT victory, while party splinters and mavericks create room for DPP victories. Many speculated that these defeats were a popular renunciation of either the size of the KMT majority and/or growing unease with President Ma’s handling of domestic crises and cross-strait relations. While the subsequent Big-5 elections resulted in a record overall percentage of votes for the DPP, the KMT won three of the five large municipality elections. Taken together, bi-elections and local elections demonstrated growing momentum for the DPP. Under the new winner-take-all legislative election rules, however, the KMT and blue party allies still enter 2012 with a disproportionate advantage in district races.

What are the conditions that may reshape the legislative balance of power in Taiwan’s parliament after January 14th? What are the incremental changes in vote share that could make a difference in this electoral outcome? I first look at the district races and then the national at- large list seats.

The simple answer is that a major political earthquake would be required for the KMT to lose its legislative majority, and the appeal of Dr. Tsai as the DPP chairwoman and presidential candidate would need to filter down to the legislative races to increase turn-out by green party supporters, as well as capture several percentage points of support from the moderate and/or undecided voters. This, combined with division within the blue camp brought on by the re- emergence of the People First Party and a handful of KMT mavericks, will certainly close the gap, but it is unlikely to change majority parties in the legislative yuan. One particular advantage of the DPP is that there is no other party competing for green votes at the district level. Thus unity in the green camp strengthens the DPP’s chances against the larger, but divided, block of blue supporters.

Since this is the first simultaneous presidential and legislative election, there is uncertainty about how this may influence both turn-out and voting decisions by Taiwan’s public. The 2008 legislative election turn-out was a low, 58.5% while three months later, the presidential election turn-out was 76.3%. Turn-out in January 2012 will again approach 76% plus, and the million dollar question is which party’s supporters will turn out in greater numbers than in the past. Based on the abysmal showing for the DPP in the 2008 elections as a renunciation of the Chen era, one could surmise that a larger percentage of green party supporters simply stayed home than the non-voting blue camp supporters. An influx of green voters will not only bolster Dr. Tsai’s chances in the presidential race, but also her party’s chances in the legislature.
In order to forecast possible results of the 2012 legislative election, I look at the legislative votes from 2004, 2008, and subsequent bi-elections to gauge past support for each party. For the 2004 results, I re-allocate votes under the old electoral system according to the rules of the current system. This process yielded an 88% success rate at predicting the party victors at the district level prior to the 2008 legislative election, revealing a KMT landslide victory months before the 2008 polls. I then calculate the victory margins in each district race. After identifying which parties are running candidates in each of the 73 district races, I determine which districts are most and least prone to a change in party representation given 5, 10, and greater than 10 percentage point change in support. Certainly, changes in party support will not be constant across all districts, but in order to keep the model simple and reduce errors introduced by “speculating” on each individual district, a single standard is applied with each test.

There are four crucial assumptions underlying this modeling that may very well prove to be false. The first assumption is that the DPP will hold onto all of its current seats. This is potentially problematic in Taitung County and Taoyuan County #3, where the DPP margin of victory in post-2008 bi-elections was extremely close in very blue districts. The second assumption is that the success of Dr. Tsai’s presidential campaign will spill over into similar rises in support for DPP legislative candidates. Recent reports from Taiwan indicate far more DPP candidates seeking to ride Dr. Tsai’s coattails than KMT candidates relying on those of President Ma. The third important assumption is that PFP candidates will siphon KMT votes on a larger scale than those from the DPP. A fourth assumption bars the last minute revelation of a major scandal or actions of an external party that would reshape popular sentiments at the “12th hour.”

At lower levels of change in voter choice, the outcomes are not very dramatic. If the DPP increases its vote share by at least 5% in all districts, this would result in the KMT losing seats in Changhua County #4, New Taipei City #4, and Kaohsiung City #7 and #8. The NPSU is likely to hold onto its three seats, although Kinmen and Penghu counties will be hotly contested with the possibility of a PFP victory in Kinmen. Other parties and independent candidates are most likely to again be shut out of 2012. So, with a 5% point shift in votes island-wide, the legislative balance would be slightly adjusted to the KMT with 47 district seats, DPP with 23 seats, NPSU holding onto 3 seats, and one PFP seat. The KMT could retain its two-thirds majority with incumbent victories in the aboriginal constituencies and 15 at-large seats.

The next scenario is one in which there is a shift of between 5 and 10 percentage points in favor of the DPP. This scenario introduces some interesting alternative outcomes. In addition to the potential losses above, the KMT would be in jeopardy of losing eight additional seats: Chiayi City #1, Nantou County #2, Hualien County, Taitung County #1, Taipei City #2, Taipei City #6, New Taipei City #5, Kaohsiung City #1, and Kaohsiung City #6. The results in Taipei City #6 will be a function of the presence and influence of a PFP candidate and blue mavericks that will reduce KMT support.

Should the KMT lose the four seats above and these eight seats, its district share of seats would drop to thirty-eight. This would require an additional nineteen seats from the at-large list and aboriginal constituencies to retain majority status. If the PFP and NPSU win four district seats, two aboriginal seats, and no at-large seats, this would require a minimum of 13 at-large seats or about 40% of the at-large party list vote. The KMT would most likely hold onto its single party majority, but at the extreme, a 5-10 percentage point shift away from the KMT nation- wide could result in no majority party in the legislature and force the KMT plurality to work

in coalition with its blue party allies once again. With the acrimony generated by Mr. Soong’s campaign, it is not entirely clear how well the PFP would work within such a coalition.

Finally, there are a number of electoral districts in which a sufficient rise in DPP support, combined with a fragmented blue vote due to PFP candidates, could produce the most extreme, yet unlikely, outcomes. The true combined tests of Dr. Tsai’s coattails and Mr. Soong’s currency, come in some of the most hostile environments for the DPP: Nantou County #2, Taichung City #6 and #8, New Taipei City #2 and #7, and Kaohsiung City #3. If the DPP were to increase its vote share by 10 percentage points, while PFP candidates siphon as many as 7-9% points from the KMT, the DPP could pick up these districts as well. PFP candidates are running in four of these districts.

As stated above, the odds of DPP success are not very strong in this last group of districts, but these are likely the district races that will be the KMT’s last line of defense for holding its majority status. If the results modeled above bear out, the DPP would need to win three of these six very difficult races to obtain a 35 seat to 35 seat balance of power in the legislative yuan. This would require the KMT to obtain twenty-two additional seats from coalition partners, the at-large list and aboriginal constituencies. On the other hand, this would also require the DPP to obtain twenty-two additional seats from the at-large list (assuming it wins no aboriginal seats) and/or join in coalition with another party. For all practical purposes, it is currently improbable that the DPP would capture 65% of the at-large vote. Contemplating a DPP-PFP coalition strikes one as equally improbable. Barring the PFP simply returning once again to the KMT fold, the outcome of this extreme scenario would signal the collapse of the party system as we have known it in Taiwan and generate considerable uncertainty due to the new coalition politics.

Pulling the thread one last extreme time, should the DPP win in all six of these races, or compensate with surprise victories elsewhere, the district result would represent nearly as incredible a flip-flop as that of 2008. If the DPP wins in every (emphasis on “every”) district in which it stands the slightest of realistic chances, it could emerge from the election with as many as forty out of seventy-three district seats. This would require as few as seventeen at-large seats or 50% of the total list vote to capture a majority.

Which of the above scenarios is the most likely? For this author, the most likely scenario is also the safest with which to go “on record.” At the end of the day, the odds are in favor of the KMT pulling off victories in about forty-three district races, four aboriginal seats, and about fourteen at-large seats totaling in the neighborhood of 61 seats, just short of a two-thirds majority. The DPP is likely to win about twenty-six district races, no aboriginal seats, and as many as sixteen at-large seats totaling about forty-two seats (more than double its share in 2008). The NPSU and PFP are likely to share among four district seats and two aboriginal seats, with the PFP possibly winning as many as three or four at-large seats. 
Based on its poor showing in 2008 and lackof district candidates, the prospects for the Taiwan Solidarity Union scoring the necessary 5% threshold in the at-large list are not good.

This project was conducted with the gracious research assistance of Ms. Ching-Hsuan (Christine) Meng (孟慶萱).

Hans Stockton (史漢傑), PhD, is the director of the Center for International Studies and
the Cullen Trust for Higher Education/Fayez Sarofim Endowed Chair in International Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. He has studied Taiwan’s politics for more than twenty years and has observed every national election on Taiwan since 1992. He will be a member of an international delegation of election observers in Taiwan for the upcoming election.

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