The Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation has also released its most recent polling on the Taiwanese voting population’s opinion regarding the performance of mayors across Taiwan on the issue of how well they handled the COVID-19 pandemic (see the table at the end of the article). The 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.
As he has in many recent polls Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜), the Mayor of New Taipei, took first place in the polling. However, he like almost every other mayor on the poll, saw his share of the percentage drop when compared with July of last year. Last July, Hou commanded an impressive 50.3 percent of the entire poll. Currently, he is down at 37.7 percent, a drop of 12.6 points. This is the largest drop of any single candidate. Though he still does have a 15.9 point lead on the second place finisher.
In the second spot is Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁). Chen jumped from third to second place over the last few months, possibly due to his ability to control the pandemic in the city, even after there was an outbreak that saw cases at the largest port in Taiwan. Even though he climbed in the polls he probably shouldn’t gloat too much as he saw an overall decline of 7.6 percent since last July, he saw his numbers drop from 29.4 to 21.8 percent. Though to put that drop in perspective it is still the 3rd best overall point shift of all the mayors in the poll.
Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Mayor of Taipei, saw an over all drop of 10.6 points and a decline from 2nd to 3rd place. His numbers this month were 19.8 percent, down from 30.4 the previous year. Ko saw a pretty steep decline though it likely doesn’t matter for him for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that he is at the end of his second term and may not be running for election again this year. Though he may be running for president in 2024, though his COVID performance will likely not be on people’s minds then.
Following Ko is Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕). Lu got a score of 14.7 in this years polls. This is a decline of 10.6 percentage points, down from 25.3 percent last year. Being that there have been very few cases in Taichung this drop is likely either because of other issues in Taichung, like the child abuse scandal that has recently popped back up, or is just because others have taken the spotlight. She also likely doesn’t have too much to worry about, barring further serious scandals, as she has seen dominant 2024 polling numbers recently.
Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), Mayor of Taoyuan, was the only mayor that saw their numbers increase. This is certainly something to brag about, though not too much because they only went up 0.6 percent and he landed in 5th of 6 spots on the poll. Though being that he was at the heart of the outbreak, managing a city where Taiwan’s biggest international airport is, Taoyuan. With numbers down quite significantly there recently, he may see even more boosts in his numbers, especially if Taiwan can once again get back to 0 local cases. Though he, like Ko is at the end of his term, and may or may not be seeking election elsewhere this year so this may not effect him much, at least in the near term.
At the 6th and final spot we have Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), the Mayor of Tainan. While no one wants to take the last spot in a poll about COVID response, Huang did get the second best shift in total numbers from last year, only down 1.5 percent. He can also take solace in the fact that, at least according to recent data, he is looking pretty likely to be the Mayor of Tainan for another four years.
All the non-mayoral options were up in this poll. Those that responded that all of the mayors handled the pandemic poorly was up 2.3 percent. The number increased from 1.4 to 3.7. However, those that believe that all those on the list did a good job went up to 8.6 from 4.5 percent last July, an increase of 4.1 points. Those that responded that they didn’t know went up as well. Last year the number was 13.1 percent, this month was 20.2, amounting to a total increase of 7.1 points. These increase add up to a total shift of 13.5. This increase in grouped numbers was certainly a factor in the many decreases we saw in most of the individual scores.
We will have to wait and see how much the handling of COVID factors into the reelection campaigns of the mayors that are running again, and how they continue to handle the pandemic up until the elections this November. There are so many other issues that will also play a factor like their stances on the referendum topics, the opening of Fukushima imports, and many other issues both in and out of their control.