The Taiwan Public Opinion Center (台灣議題研究中心) recently released new data on Taiwan’s political parties in relation to social media traffic.
The TPOC used QuickseeK to analyze social media users mentions of various political parties in Taiwan. They used data from 8 different social media sites including PTT, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The data looked at the previous 6 months of usage and searched for the top 5 political parties in Taiwan: the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP/民進黨), the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT/國民黨), the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP/台灣民眾黨), the New Power Party (NPP/時代力量), and the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP/台灣基進黨).
The DPP received the most hits with 49.8 percent of all traffic, the KMT took second with 34.6, the TPP found itself in 3rd with 8.6 percent. The data may also give us insight into how different age groups feel about each party.
While the DPP had the highest numbers on all 8 platforms observed, it scored the highest on Instagram and Dcard. These two platforms are more traditionally used by younger individuals, perhaps showing a trend of younger voters trending towards the DPP, though there has been quite a bit of evidence already suggesting this. This idea is reinforced when looking at the platforms where the KMT’s scored its highest favorable comments which contain Facebook and YouTube.
Facebook is now commonly seen as a platform of the older generations, reflecting a more elderly constituency for the KMT. We can also see this trend when look at how the positive and negative comments shift through various social media sites. Facebook, while still majority negative has a much better ratio for the KMT. This ratio drops further when looking at PTT and to its lowest when looking at Twitter.
Though it should be noted that the number of comments analyzed for this data was by far the highest on Facebook and Twitter was quite low. Twitter is also less frequently used by those in Taiwan, however this is shifting and with the highly political nature and relatively low age of the majority of its users, it could illuminate some of the differences for various constituencies.
With the increasing age of KMT voters and a seeming rise in the opposition to the party it will be fascinating to see if and how the party will evolve. It is possible that their influence continues to contract, as it appears that previous attempts by KMT leaders to revitalize the party and bring in younger voters have largely flopped.
It is also possible that another party fills the void being left by the KMT. The prime candidate for this would likely be Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s TPP. There has been some data showing that younger, more highly educated people that might have once voted KMT, could be switching to the Taiwan People’s Party instead. This has also come as Ko and his party have shifted more and more towards the pan-Blue camp.
With local elections rapidly approaching in Taiwan and the push for lowering the voting age to 18, these demographics may spell disaster for the KMT. However, there are of course large demographic differences throughout the various cities and counties of Taiwan, and there are still numerous deep Blue pockets around the country. This can be seen in the fact that the KMT still controls 12 of the 16 mayors and magistrates in Taiwan. These numbers could be greatly shaken up by the local elections, however looking at polling data it doesn’t see like that will happen so quickly.