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James Soong is set to formally join the presidential race. We just put the clocks back in the UK, I didn’t realize they went back to the year 2000 (when Soong was last competitive) or 2005 (when he was last relevant). “A worthy adversary” says Tsai in reaction to Soong’s presidential campaign announcement. Another reminder that Tsai Ing-wen is a very polite lady indeed. Maybe she’s just trying to give him some confidence so he does better than his last outing (<4% in Taipei Mayor race in ‘06, ouch).

DPP declares November “little pigs month” as piggybank fundraising campaign achieves success. But they’re going to need a lot of cash to compete with the multiple millions (of government, not party, money it says here) invested in Ma’s advertising campaign. By chance, UDN chooses this moment to highlight the need for campaigns to refocus on the importance of current economic strains; but presumably they meant those facing the entire Taiwanese economy rather than just those facing the parties’ campaign coffers

Tsai and Ma are now neck-and-neck according to a local election poll. Not a poll in fact, but National ChengChih University’s Center for Prediction Markets. I’m guessing this makes it more accurate than your average Taiwanese media poll.  Apparently Ma peaked on Oct. 16 when he was seen as 18.7% more likely than Tsai to win. But Tsai’s fortunes have improved and at month’s end the two candidates appear level pegging. So, did something happen between Oct 16 and Halloween?

Finally, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Taiwan is a beacon of democracy for the development of mainland China…

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Published inInternational PoliticsTaiwan 2012


  1. Christian Aspalter Christian Aspalter

    That might tip the race in favor of Tsai. Soong has deep-rooted connections all over the island, especially with local elites which are still crucial in elections. Soong may take away from Ma’s potential consitiuency the very right side (mainlanders and veterans and their families) and local voters who’s interests are vested in local leading families, especially in the small and medium towns, all across the island.

    The race just got so much more interesting.

    • Jonathan Sullivan Jonathan Sullivan

      You may be right–but supposing Soong stays in the campaign to the end (rather than securing some leverage with the KMT and then dropping out), why would people vote for him knowing that he can’t win? Especially if they know that not voting for Ma increases the likelihood of Tsai winning? I think voters will have learned a (painful) lesson from 2000. Nevertheless, Soong is always good value on the campaign trail, so it is certainly more interesting!

  2. Max Chang Max Chang

    You asked, “So, did something happen between Oct 16 and Halloween?”

    As a local voter I’d to share my view. Tsai now leads the Xfuture poll about 4 to 8 more points than Ma. Ma’s price dropped dramatically right after he anounced on Oct 17 that he is willing to sign peace pact with China. That caused a public turbulence and withered his poll.

    • Jonathan Sullivan Jonathan Sullivan

      Thanks for your comment Max. That could be it. In my view it is very curious gambit for Ma to make. The timeframe for the proposed accord would be outside of Ma’s hypothetical second term and it was a risky idea to drop during an election campaign, when it is not sure that it would resonate with voters. Mistimed and over-ambitious: smells to me like a campaign that is unsure of itself. Then again, maybe Ma’s team has opinion data that isn’t available to the rest of us.

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