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Poll predicts tough mayoral race in New Taipei City
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-24 05:48 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou Yu-ih would have a tougher time against former Premier Yu Shyi-kun in next year’s election than incumbent mayor Eric Liluan Chu, a poll showed Tuesday.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party has already chosen Yu as its candidate in the mayoral election scheduled for December 6, 2014, but the ruling Kuomintang is still hampered by not knowing whether Chu will run. The current mayor could be selected as premier and is also believed to have his sights on the nomination for KMT candidate in the 2016 presidential election. There is also a chance the ruling party would try and launch him to run for mayor in Taipei City, reports said.

He could easily defeat Yu but if his deputy Hou, a high-profile former national police chief, ran in his stead, the election race would be closer, the Chinese-language United Daily News revealed in a poll published Tuesday.

Chu would win 58 percent against 19 percent for Yu, while Hou would win 44 percent against 29 percent for Yu, the paper said. Other eventual KMT candidates, such as Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan, who also served as Chu’s deputy, and city councilor Chen Ming-yi rated less than 5 percent in the survey.

If Hou were the KMT candidate, only 62 percent of Chu supporters would stick with him, while 22 percent would throw their support behind the DPP’s Yu, according to the poll. Fewer than 70 percent of traditional KMT supporters would vote for Hou, with 17 percent likely to give their votes to Yu in that case, the survey found. Local KMT officials said the cause for the lower support level might be the fact that the deputy mayor had not officially joined the ruling party.

The poll successfully interviewed 1,001 residents of New Taipei City with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. The area will be a key fighting ground in next year’s election because of its high population. The DPP won four consecutive county magistrate elections when it was still known as Taipei County, electing first former lawmaker Yu Ching and later current DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang.

DPP New Taipei City chief official Lo Chih-cheng ascribed the relatively low figures for Yu Shyi-kun as a result of the fact that he only recently won the internal party poll for the nomination. The data might be a warning, but many party supporters had not voiced their opinions yet, Lo said, adding that as the campaign progressed, public support would become more outspoken and clearer. Commentators estimated basic support levels for the DPP in New Taipei City at 40 percent, meaning Yu’s chances were not as bad as the newspaper poll made it seem.

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