Are we over-emphasizing votes?

In my immediate post-election reaction, I paid a lot of attention to the numbers of votes gained by the KMT and DPP.  However, as I’ve slowly digested the election outcome, I wonder if I’m putting too much weight on that.  The point of an election is to win office, and the KMT won three of them.  All of those DPP votes over the last two years haven’t translated into many public offices.  Even now, if the presidential election were held tomorrow, my gut tells me that Ma would win a second term by a narrow, narrow margin.  Again, all those votes might not translate into any concrete gains in power.  The most important fact of this election is that the KMT won Taipei, Taichung, and Xinbei.  It will hold those seats for the next four years no matter how public opinion evolves.  Moreover, if public public opinion starts to swing back toward the KMT, this DPP wave, which produced lots of votes but not much political power, will have very little to show for it.  The votes give a hint of how public opinion is now and might evolve over the next two years, but they do not guarantee any future results.  Maybe the KMT got the cow and the DPP got the magic beans.  The only problem for the DPP is that magic beans are rarely actually magic.  I’ll take the cow.

Obviously, I need to go to sleep…

One Response to “Are we over-emphasizing votes?”

  1. Jason Lee Says:

    Exactly. The DPP did much better than they did in 2005-2006 municipal elections, but it’s basically the same thing at the end of the day. Instead of 58-42 in 2008, it looks like it’s 52-48 KMT now. But in a presidential election, Ma should do a bit better than the KMT did in the 2009-2010 municipal elections. He still has more appeal than your average KMT candidate, and the DPP doesn’t have anyone with a better reputation than him.

    The DPP should gain back many seats in the legislature in 2011, but Ma (if he lives long enough) should get anywhere from 53-55% of the vote in 2012. Also, the economy should be a bit better by then also. He won’t get 58% again, but he should still win by a decent but not great margin in 2012.

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