New polling comparing support for major political parties in Taiwan was recently released from the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (台灣民意基金會). The data shows that both major parties in Taiwan have lost support over the last year. While the two major political parties in Taiwan, the ruling Democratic Progressive (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT), have both lost support in the past year, it is not exactly even.

The data from the two polls was taken in December of last year and January of this year. According to the data the DPP saw a drop in support of 1.5 percent, from 31.8 to 30.5 percent, while the KMT saw a decline of 4 percentage points, dropping from 19.6 down to 15.6 percent support. The party in 3rd place, Taipei Mayor, Ko Wen-je’s Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) actually saw a marginal increase of 0.4 percent, jumping from 12.1 to 12.5. Smaller parties also saw some fluctuation, though due to their overall lower support differences were generally small.

The New Power Party (NPP) saw support numbers dip to 2.1 percent, from 2.7 last year. The relatively new Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP), formed in 2016 one year after the NPP, saw a slight rise in support going from 1.9 to 2.3 percent support. “Other parties” saw an increase of 0.8 percent moving from 1.1 to 1.9 percent. Those that supported no party also increased to 33.8 percent, up from 30.6 percent from December of last year.

This shift, especially that of the KMT, is relatively unsurprising. The KMT lost its presidential bid in 2020 by a large margin, over 18 percent. It also failed to deliver in the most recent referendums, losing on all 4 major issues. The DPP has done a pretty good job overall of dealing with the COVID pandemic, though some of that is likely seen as the work of the CDC in Taiwan, and for good reason. Which is probably why Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) has seen his popularity rise greatly in recent polling data, garnering 57 percent approval, and many calls to run for the Mayor of Taipei.

However, even though they have had many small victories recently, they also haven’t delivered much for average working people, which perhaps explains why they have fallen slightly in support. The NPP has been dealing with numerous issues over the past few years, including infighting and alleged corruption, such as the allegations against Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明). The TSP seeing its popularity rise slightly must feel good, unfortunately they also lost their only elected legislator, Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), to recall last year.

With those supporting no party in particular so high, there are a lot of votes that are any party’s to win or lose. With the local elections so close, it will be interesting to see how parties attempt to win or maintain their support and chip away at the support of opposing parties. It will also be interesting to see whether or not smaller parties can attempt to make headway towards growing their influence and their portion of elected representatives.

While it is nice that Taiwan has smaller parties that get some support, they are largely relegated to a few seats. It would be great to see a push for initiatives like ranked-choice voting to give them a greater chance at winning elections and hopefully a more abundant and representative democracy in Taiwan.