With local elections looming at the end of the year, the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (台灣民意基金會) has released its most recent polling on the Taiwanese voting population’s opinion regarding 5 Taiwanese political parties (the Democratic Progressive Party, Kuomintang, Taiwan People’s Party, New Power Party, and the Taiwan Statebuilding Party. The amount of support these parties are receiving and how they are shifting, even though we are still a while out from the November elections, could give us insight into how much support each of the parties will receive.

This polling was conducted from February 14th to 15th this year and was conducted via telephone. This was a national poll and contains 1079 valid samples from individuals 20 years of age and older. The margin of error for the poll was +/-2.98, with a 95 percent level of confidence (Tables from the polling used in the article will be pictured at the bottom of the article).

Leading the polling this month, as they have for years, is the DPP. When comparing to last months data they are down slightly, though within the margin of error, 1.3 percent. They dropped from 30.5 to 29.2 percent. This is interesting because President Tsai, the face of the DPP, has raised her polling numbers over the past month and DPP lead policy efforts, like opening up Fukushima food imports, are raising in popularity. Though this is possibly due to the fact that DPP voters have shifted their support to favor other pan-Green parties over the DPP.

The DPP’s main opposition party, the KMT, also saw its support decline. They fell from 15.6 to 15 percent even over the past month (though this is obviously also well within the margin of error). The KMT has been having some issues recently due to their backing of, at least according to polls and referendum results, loosing issues. When looking at a head-to-head matchup with the DPP, they are also getting trounced, down by 24 points. Though this doesn’t mean that the pan-Blue camp is doomed however.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s party, the Taiwan People’s Party, grew its total moderately in this recent round of polling. Their totals increased from 12.5 to 16.2 percent. This is not only the largest increase of any party’s support, it is also only the second time (the last being first being last October) that the TPP has overtaken the KMT as the most popular party of the pan-Blue camp. This is good news for the party that will lose their only mayor in the next elections, being that Ko has already served 2 terms. They could perhaps fill the void with other positions, some even think that they have a chance to retain the Taipei mayoral seat with current Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), though polling might disagree.

Next in the polls we have the New Power Party. The NPP, like the TPP, saw a pretty solid jump in support. The party rose from 2.1 to 5.5 percent in one month. This increase helped them overtake the TSP that was previously leading them by 0.2 percentage points. The NPP has been out in the media frequently and may owe its newfound support to this increased exposure.

The last party included in the polling was another pan-Green party, the TPP. The TPP climbed from 2.3 percent up to 4 percent. While dropping behind the NPP likely isn’t what the TSP was looking for out of polling data, they are probably happy to see their totals rise especially after having their only elected legislator, Chen Po-wei, recalled just a few months ago. The TSP is also using its recently publicity to make a push in local elections, they recently announced a slate of candidates for the Tainan City Legislative Yuan.

In the category of ‘other parties’, there was a slight drop from January, falling from 1.9 to 1.6. Those that responded that they don’t support any particular party also dropped to 27.4 down from 33.8 just a month ago. These drops might represent a trend leading up to the election of people generally in the middle taking sides. Though these numbers are certainly subject to change over the next months.

It is perhaps heartening to many that all of the third parties in the polling grew their share of support. This could bring fresh perspectives and policy ideas to the Taiwanese political sphere. It also gives people different options. With so much time left there could of course be a major shakeup in numbers of support, but only time will tell.

Tables from Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation’s February polling (tpof.org)