"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taiwan's 2010 municipal election results

TVBS vs. reality (again)

Another election in Taiwan appears to have left the country with the same old political landscape. The winners were:
Taipei City (台北市): Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌, Chinese KMT, incumbent)
New Taipei (新北市): Eric Chu (朱立倫, Chinese KMT, same party as incumbent)
Taichung (大台中): Jason Hu (胡志強, Chinese KMT, incumbent)
Tainan (大台南): William Lai (賴清德, DPP, same party as incumbent)
Kaohsiung (大高雄): Chen Chu (陳菊, DPP, incumbent)
But it's not exactly the "status quo" which even the Taipei Times calls it in a headline on news of the election results.

While the number of DPP vs. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayors remains the same (2:3) as it was before yesterday's election, the vote totals tell a different story.

Who got the most votes?
Adding the ballots for all five municipalities, the DPP got a total of 3,772,373 votes (49.87% -- very nearly an absolute majority) compared to the Chinese KMT's 3,369,052 (44.54%). The combined total of all other candidates' votes was a mere 422,692 (5.59%). While this analysis doesn't change the outcome of the election one bit, it does indicate that the DPP have "gained more than 340,000 votes in the five municipalities" (compared with votes for their candidate in the 2008 presidential election). At the other end of the political spectrum, the Chinese KMT -- in contrast with what the international media wants you to believe -- is failing in policy, governance, and strategy, and has lost more than a million votes in these municipalities.

But what I really want to focus on in this post is certain pre-election surveys and how they are regularly wrong.

Oops! They did it again!
Let's compare the pro-blue (pro-unification/pro-China/pro-Chinese KMT) TVBS' final pre-election surveys for all five electoral areas with the actual results of these elections. If most of their surveys were at least close to the margin of error, they might be trustworthy. But they are not.

In particular, I want to focus on the survey numbers for DPP candidates compared to the actual results.

survey results
election results
Chen Chu
William Lai
Su Jia-chyuan
New Taipei
Tsai Ing-wen
Taipei City
Su Tseng-chang

Only one out of the five surveys above was within its margin of error (3.1 percentage points). And you know something? One out of five equals two out of ten, and two out of ten is good enough for TVBS host Lee Tao (李濤).

Could such inaccuracy be on purpose -- done to fill certain voters with hope, others with despair?

Further reading:
* English version of the Central Election Commission web site

* Hanzi version of the Central Election Commission web site

* Although they only hold a majority of city council seats in Tainan, the DPP made some gains at that level, too: "2010 ELECTIONS: KMT, DPP each claim 130 city councilor seats"

* The China Post says that "Pollsters wrong-footed by unexpected shooting."

* Singapore's Straits Times paints the election results as a sunny day for the Chinese KMT.

* The New York Times fluffs the Chinese KMT by saying that the elections "reaffirm[ed] national support for a party that has made improved relations with the Chinese mainland the center of its political agenda."

* BBC absurdly says that the Chinese KMT were "boosted in mayor elections" and that "Correspondents say the results are seen as an endorsement of the KMT's push for warmer relations with China." Could those "correspondents" be anyone like Cindy Sui and her husband Ralph Jennings?

Victims of the outcome: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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