This post started out as part of the post on Liang Wenjie’s rally. However, I realized that this works better as standalone post. So, here is a review of the city council race in Taipei City district 4 (Zhongshan, Datong).
Historically, this has been the DPP’s best district in Taipei City. To get an idea of the range we might expect, the green camp got about 43% in a couple of recent “lousy” elections, the 2006 city council and 2008 LY party list elections. In its best elections, the 2004 presidential election and the 1998 mayoral election, the green camp got about 10% more than that. I’m expecting this to be even better than those best case scenarios for the green camp. If Su doesn’t win the mayoral race outright, he will almost certainly exceed all previous green camp totals. So let’s imagine that Su will get around 55-60% in this district. Of course, the green camp always suffers a dropoff from executive races to representative races. In 2006, Frank Hsieh got about 50% while the city council candidates only managed about 43%. In 2002, the dropoff was smaller, about 43% to 41%. In 1998, it was about 55% to 41%, and in 1994 it was 53% to 41%.
That looks like the green camp gets a solid 41-43%, no matter what the mayoral candidate does. However, I don’t expect to see this again. In the past, there were always more independents and blue camp candidates in the field, and they would eat away at some green camp votes. For example, four years ago, Luo Zongsheng 羅宗勝, an incumbent and former DPP member, ran as an independent and got nearly 5% of the vote. There aren’t any significant independent candidates in this year’s field, and there aren’t many blue camp candidates either. I would look for the green camp to end up somewhere in the 50-55% range in this election. Let’s guess 52%.
The green camp has six candidates. The TSU candidate looks like the weakest one to me. Four years ago, the TSU candidate Jian Yuyan 簡余晏won easily. However, this year, she is running as a DPP member, and I expect that she will bring some of the former TSU votes along with her. The current TSU candidate is a lizhang and does not have much of a political profile. As far as I can tell, he is relying almost entirely on the TSU party label. I’m going to guess that he’ll get 5000 votes (about 3%) and a next-to-last place finish, ahead only of the independent. That leaves just under 50% for the five DPP candidates, or roughly 10% each. Of course, they won’t all get 10%. Distributing the votes is where all the challenge lies. The two front runners are Jian and Wang Shijian 王世堅, a former legislator who is returning to his old city council district. Wang is part of Frank Hsieh’s faction, and way back in the 1980s, this was Hsieh’s old city council district. Wang has a very strong organizational base. Jian is something of a media celebrity. She is always on the talk shows and has one of the highest profiles of any city council member. She also came in first place in the party primaries by a large margin. The two mid-level candidates are Huang Xiangqun 黃向群 and Li Wenying 李文英. Both are incumbents. I don’t know much at all about Li. Huang is from one of the most famous families in the democracy movement. His grandfather was Huang Hsin-chieh, a longtime legislator, one of the Kaohsiung Eight, and a chair of the DPP. Both of his parents served in the legislature, and the family has deep organizational roots in Datong district. I discussed the fifth candidate, Liang Wenjie 梁文傑, in the previous post.
With five candidates, there are lots of voters trying to game the system and throw their support to the weakest of the five. The problem is that no one quite knows who that is. In these races, I think the candidates with strong organizations have an enormous advantage. In this case, that would be Wang and Huang. Their voters aren’t as likely to disappear. Jian will likely either go very high or very low. If she can convince everyone who thinks she is their first choice to actually vote for her, she will probably end up first in the entire field. The danger is that many of those voters will think she doesn’t need their votes, and she could end up very far down the list. Liang Wenjie is perceived as the weakest candidate. Therefore, he’ll probably win. (Isn’t SNTV fun! Ok, maybe perverse.) His prime danger is that his core supporters will judge him to be so weak that he is not viable at all. If the core supporters jump ship, then the strategic voting train will never leave the station. So he’s either a turkey or a winner. He probably won’t end up right at the edge of winning and losing. Li Wenying is facing a tough race, since no one is thinking much about her. She might be the DPP candidate most likely to lose this race.
On the blue camp side, we have five candidates, four KMT and one PFP. They will be divvying up about 45-50%. Again, this is slightly less than 10% each, so the crucial factor is how the votes are divided. The three KMT incumbents all look quite strong. All are running for their fourth or fifth terms, and they all have impressive organizations. The organizations make them somewhat less vulnerable to strategic voting, so I expect Chen Yumei 陳玉梅, Wang Hao 王浩, and Lin Jinzhang 林晉章 to all win re-election, perhaps in that order. Ye Linchuan 葉林傳 appears to be the weakest of the blue camp candidates. He is currently a lizhang, which doesn’t fill me with confidence. He looks like a 10th place finisher to me. That leaves Lin Guocheng 林國成, the PFP candidate. Last time, he was the top loser. However, one of the winners (a DPP member) was stripped of his seat, and it was awarded to Lin. Lin has been advertising heavily, but I doubt the PFP brand carries as much clout as it used to. Also, Wang Hao will eat away at a lot of the votes that the PFP would consider to be their natural turf. In the end, after the three big dogs finish eating, I just don’t think there will be enough of the blue cake left over for Lin to win. It wouldn’t shock me to see Lin winning and Li or even Jian losing (ok, Jian would be pretty surprising), but I’d GUESS that the most likely outcome is that the five DPP candidates and the three KMT incumbents will be the eight winners.
(Note: This is not a scientific prediction. This is a GUESS. It will almost certainly be wrong in some way.)