Archive for December, 2015

DPP attack ad in Keelung

December 30, 2015

We got this ad in our newspaper today in Keelung. It is sponsored by the DPP’s city council caucus, and all the members (except the LY candidate) have signed their names at the bottom.

keelung dpp ad p1

The headline screams, “Last Place Alliance.” The three people are introduced as, the last place (former Keelung mayor Chang Tung-jung), the second to last place (former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin), and the third to last place (former Taichung mayor Jason Hu). It then asks, “Do you want this kind of person to come to Keelung to be our legislator?”

On the other side, it lists the Commonwealth Magazine surveys of satisfaction with all the mayors and magistrates from 2011 and 2012, which indeed show those three doing terribly. Then it hits with the gut punch: “The fourth-to-last place is Chu Li-lun, who is currently representing the KMT in the presidential race.” Oof.

keelung dpp ad p2

Actually, I’m happy to see these sorts of negative ads. If you did a bad job, it should haunt you and your party for years. Collective responsibility makes democracy work.

What’s your lucky number?

December 29, 2015

One of the fun little quirks of Taiwanese elections is that the candidates draw numbers, and these registration numbers become an integral part of their campaign messages over the last few weeks. This is the only time of the year when people happily shout “#2!” or “#5” at their friends. When candidates draw the numbers, everyone cheers the lucky number 1 and everyone groans at the unlucky number 4. (“Four” sounds similar to “death” in Mandarin and is exactly the same in Taiwanese.) Do these numbers really matter?

Answer #1: Of course not! Don’t be silly. They are randomly drawn, so the effect should be random. Winning and losing depends on important characteristics, such as party affiliation and whether or not a candidate has had a bribery scandal, not stupid things like registration numbers. Why are you wasting time with this topic, FG?

Answer #2: Of course it matters! People are not machines. Some people are superstitious and vote for lucky numbers or avoid unlucky ones. More importantly, people make choices in different ways. Some might look down the list until they find a candidate they like.  Some people think voting is a duty and care more about the act than the choice, so they  might vote for the person at the top of the list because that’s the first place they look. Names might be easier to find at some places on the ballot than others. Scholars in the USA have found that there is an advantage to being at the top of the ballot, and pollsters often randomize questions and answers to avoid skewing the results.

Well, this sounds like a good old-fashioned empirical question. We have two competing theoretical perspectives, both of which make sense. Which one do the data support? Fortunately, I have a bunch of data perfectly formatted to answer this kind of question. I’m going to look at whether candidates with a particular registration number won at a higher rate than expected.


First, our hypotheses. We have the superstitious hypotheses:

H1: Reg #1 should have more winners (than random).

H2: Reg #4 should have fewer winners.

We also have the easy-to-find hypotheses, where the candidates at the top and bottom of the ballot are the favored ones. (Technically, I think the ballots still run right to left, but it’s the same idea.)

H3: Reg #1 should have more winners.

H4: The highest registration number should have more winners.


Second, methodology. I look at all candidates in all district elections (including indigenous but not including party list) since 1985. I exclude all candidates who ran uncontested. For each candidate, I have a registration number, the number of seats elected in the district, the number of candidates running in the district, and whether the candidate won or lost. Each candidate’s probability of winning is calculated as the number of seats divided by the number of candidates. I sum up all the probabilities and actual wins by registration numbers. For example, there have been 286 legislative candidates who drew #1. These are expected to produce 107.94 winners, but in reality 118 won.

Is 118 higher than 107.94? Now we need some basic statistics. If you flip a coin 100 times, you would expect to get 50 heads. However, you usually will get some other number, just by random chance. If you get 53 heads, you probably shouldn’t announce that the coin is unfair. If you get 75 heads, you might want to inspect the coin. In a statistical sense, we can judge whether 53 or 75 are really higher than the expected 50 using a cumulative binomial distribution. Basically, this calculates the probability of getting 1 head, 2 heads, 3 heads, … , and n heads, and sums up all those probabilities. If the cumulative sum is very large or very small, your coin might not be fair. By convention, most scientists agree that 95% is a reasonable threshold. So if our cumulative probability falls under .025 or above .975, we’ve got an interesting result. Otherwise, we can’t reject the null hypothesis that this is just a random result.

In our example, the 286 candidates were expected to win 107.94 times, for an average winning percentage of .377. [Some real statistician can probably tell me why this is not exactly correct, but I think it’s ok for a quick and dirty study like this one.] The cumulative probability of at least 118 wins is .901, which seems pretty high. It isn’t over .975, so we can’t reject the null hypothesis with 95% confidence. Legislative candidates who drew the lucky #1 won more than expected, but not so much more that there is a statistically significant difference. It could just be random.

Here is the full table for legislative candidates since 1986:

reg n Exp (win) win P (cum)
1 286 107.94 118 0.901
2 286 107.94 104 0.339
3 259 94.51 98 0.698
4 217 80.27 82 0.625
5 187 70.77 71 0.546
6 167 64.37 59 0.220
7 140 56.54 54 0.365
8 125 51.68 48 0.283
9 116 47.50 44 0.287
10 105 43.61 43 0.494
11 97 40.71 49 0.964
12 79 33.53 29 0.180
13 71 30.20 28 0.344
14 60 25.35 24 0.415
15 56 23.57 27 0.856
16 54 22.50 26 0.865
17 45 18.19 20 0.760
18 40 16.01 16 0.567
19 37 14.68 16 0.732
20 30 11.31 12 0.677
21+ 215 70.84 64 0.179
last 286 107.94 115 0.822
all 2672 1032.02 1032 0.508

So how do the hypotheses look? As previously pointed out, #1 is high but not statistically significant. We thought #4 might be unlucky, but those candidates actually won slightly more than expected. The superstitious hypotheses don’t look so good. H4 says that the last number should be useful for finding the candidate on the ballot. In fact, candidates with the last number did slightly better than expected, though again, this is doesn’t reach statistical significance.

There is another number that is interesting. I combined all the numbers above 20, and candidates with these numbers didn’t do so well. It’s not statistically significant, but it is suggestive. If the easy-to-find hypothesis is correct, maybe voters won’t look as hard for candidates way down on a long ballot. We thus have three suggestive but not conclusive results. If only we had more data.

Wait a minute. The rest of the world looks at legislative data and thinks they have done an exhaustive study. I’m Frozen Garlic. Of course I have more data! That table was only for legislators. I have data on every election except neighborhood chiefs and some earlier township council elections.


reg n Exp (win) win P (cum)
1 7520 4041.93 4070 0.746
2 7519 4041.49 4073 0.770
3 6786 3675.21 3655 0.315
4 5781 3123.67 3171 0.897
5 4675 2499.74 2443 0.050
6 3800 2011.96 1984 0.186
7 2982 1562.59 1560 0.469
8 2321 1195.10 1221 0.864
9 1828 924.77 939 0.755
10 1431 712.30 700 0.266
11 1169 576.86 564 0.235
12 939 457.45 471 0.821
13 788 379.97 377 0.430
14 653 311.81 309 0.428
15 530 246.88 253 0.718
16 451 205.61 212 0.743
17 373 166.89 163 0.363
18 315 138.59 139 0.542
19 257 110.98 106 0.287
20 218 92.51 95 0.660
21+ 1003 382.43 357 0.052
last 7508 4035.59 4053 0.661
all 51339 26858.74 26862 0.513

In this data set of over 50,000 candidates, #1 doesn’t seem to have any great advantage. #4 looks borderline lucky, which is completely unexpected. #5 is the unluckiest number, though these still don’t reach conventional levels of statistical significance. I certainly don’t have any theoretical reason why #4 should be good or #5 should be bad, so I’m going to go with the random blip idea. I don’t see much hope for the superstition hypotheses.

However, the other set of hypotheses might still be plausible. #1 doesn’t look that promising, and neither does the last registration number. However, candidates down at the end of long ballots are noticeably less successful. Those with registration numbers of 21 and higher were expected to win 382.43 times but only won 357 times, a borderline significant result.

If the easy-to-find idea is right, it should only matter when some candidates are hard to find. That is, when there are only a few candidates, everyone is easy to find. Let’s look at races with only a few candidates and races with lots of candidates. First, here are the elections with 9 or fewer candidates.

reg n Exp (win) win P (cum)
1 6086 3328.53 3320 0.418
2 6086 3328.49 3368 0.849
3 5353 2962.21 2912 0.086
4 4348 2410.67 2448 0.876
5 3242 1786.74 1768 0.260
6 2367 1298.96 1290 0.363
7 1550 850.22 842 0.347
8 889 482.70 495 0.806
9 394 211.22 218 0.769
last 6078 3323.84 3330 0.568
all 30315 16659.74 16661 0.508

There isn’t very much going on here. #3 tends to be less successful, but we don’t have any theoretical explanation for that result. None of the other registration numbers differ very much from their expected values. With only a few candidates, numbers don’t seem to matter very much.

What about the elections with 10 or more candidates?

reg n Exp (win) win P (cum)
1 1434 713.40 750 0.975
2 1433 713.00 705 0.346
3 1433 713.00 743 0.946
4 1433 713.00 723 0.710
5 1433 713.00 675 0.024
6 1433 713.00 694 0.164
7 1432 712.37 718 0.627
8 1432 712.40 726 0.772
9 1434 713.55 721 0.663
10 1431 712.30 700 0.266
11 1169 576.86 564 0.235
12 939 457.45 471 0.821
13 788 379.97 377 0.430
14 653 311.81 309 0.428
15 530 246.88 253 0.718
16 451 205.61 212 0.743
17 373 166.89 163 0.363
18 315 138.59 139 0.542
19 257 110.98 106 0.287
20 218 92.51 95 0.660
21+ 1003 382.43 357 0.052
last 1430 711.75 723 0.733
21+, not last 832 311.50 286 0.036
21+, last 171 70.93 71 0.537
all 21024 10199.00 10201 0.514

So now #3 does better than expected but #5 is the terrible number. If you have a theoretical reason why #3 is great in large fields but a disaster in small ones, I’d love to hear it. I’m going to chalk this up to the joys of random numbers. Anyway, those are not the droids we are looking for.

Look at #1! #1 was expected to win 713.40 times, but it actually won 750 times. At least 750 wins have a cumulative probability of .975. With 95% confidence, we can reject the null hypothesis that the difference between 750 and 713.40 is just due to random chance! Result!

Moreover, look at the bottom of the table. I have added two lines. One looks at candidates with registration numbers of 21 and higher but who were not the last candidate on the (long) ballot. These candidates were expected to win 311.50 times, but they actually only won 286 times, for a cumulative probability of 0.036. That isn’t less than 0.025, but it’s close. Moreover, when you consider that candidates with numbers of 21 and higher who were the last person on the ballot won at almost exactly the expected rate, it seems more convincing.

[Eagle-eyed readers might wonder why the number of cases and expected wins aren’t all the same for #1-#10. The minor differences are due to cases in which a candidate was ruled ineligible or died after drawing numbers but before the election. In these rare cases, a district might have had a #9 but no #3, for example.]


So let’s sum up. Registration numbers seem to matter, but only in very large fields of candidates. When there are lots of candidates, it is an advantage to be the #1 candidate. It is also a disadvantage to be down at the bottom of a long, long ballot. However, if you are the last person on a long ballot, voters can find you just as easily as they can find people near the top. In large fields, it’s helpful to be in an easy-to-find place on the ballot.

There is no evidence that #1 is intrinsically lucky, since it doesn’t help at all in small fields. #4 isn’t unlucky at all. Really, there is not much evidence that any numbers are particularly lucky or unlucky.

Most importantly, any effects are very small. We had to look at an enormous set of data to tease out any results. All the other stuff, such as charisma, party affiliation, local networks, etc. are far, far more important.

campaign trail: KMT event in Taoyuan

December 28, 2015

After Sunday afternoon’s presidential debate, Mrs. Garlic and I headed off to a KMT evening rally in Taoyuan. The rally was to open the northern Taoyuan campaign office. Taoyuan is traditionally split into the Min-nan north and the Hakka south, so this district was responsible for the three predominantly Min-nan districts (Taoyuan 1, Taoyuan 4, and Taoyuan 6). Taoyuan 6 is probably not competitive, and the DPP didn’t bother to nominate its own candidate. However, Taoyuan 1 and 4 are two districts that I am watching with keen interest. Of the three predominantly Hakka districts, Taoyuan 2 looks likely to go to the DPP, while Taoyuan 3 and 5 are probably not in play. The common thread in the three solid blue districts is a large military and mainlander population.

Every time I look at the 2012 and 2014 election results from Taoyuan, my brain hurts. The numbers just don’t make sense. Two decades of election observation tells me that patterns of competition in Taiwan are quite stable. Then 2014 blindsided me. The rest of the world paid attention to Taipei and Taichung, but Taoyuan was the race that shocked me and convinced me that something very fundamental had shifted.

Let’s look at some numbers. In 2012, the KMT won all six legislative races and Ma won the presidential election by a sizeable margin.

1 54.4 42.7 55.3 44.7
2 52.5 44.6 50.2 49.8
3 60.7 36.4 53.9 39.9
4 56.0 41.1 58.2 40.6
5 60.9 36.1 45.3 35.1
6 59.1 37.8 60.3 31.3*
all 57.2 39.9 53.9 40.4

*In D6, the DPP supported an independent in 2012. This year, they are supporting a different independent in D6.

In 2012, the DPP had two incumbents, since they had won by-elections in Taoyuan 2 and 3. Note that these two candidates ran strong races, but both were unable to overcome the partisan disadvantage. The KMT candidates in D3 and D5 lost significant numbers of votes to 3rd party candidates.

Those are big margins, and there is very little hint that the DPP might be competitive anywhere except perhaps its traditional coastal stronghold (D2) any time soon. Now here are the 2014 elections, in which the DPP somehow reversed all these numbers. I have also broken down these results by legislative district. The third and fourth columns are the city council results, which I’ll get to later.

  Wu (KMT) Cheng (DPP) KMT CC DPP CC
1 43.4 55.6 43.2 38.4
2 47.5 51.3 30.4 41.8
3 52.1 46.9 35.4 24.3
4 42.6 56.4 44.2 31.6
5 52.0 47.0 35.4 22.8
6 50.0 49.0 35.1 33.3
All 48.0 51.0 37.1 32.2

Comparing Wu to Ma, the KMT lost an average of 9.2%, with much lower losses in the (more rural) coastal D2 and higher losses in northern D1 and D4. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Wu’s losses were higher in northern Min-nan D1, D4, and D6, since Wu 吳志揚 is Hakka and Cheng 鄭文燦 is Min-nan. This year, most legislative races will pit Hakka against Hakka or Min-nan against Min-nan, so there won’t be a big ethnic advantage in any locale. In other words, all else equal, the DPP might not do quite as well as Cheng in D1, D4, and D6, but it might do a bit better in D2, D3, and D5. Still, it appears to me that D1 and D4 are at the epicenter of whatever was driving last year’s earthquake. In particular, the area that changed most dramatically is the region from Guishan to Taoyuan, roughly the stretch along Freeway #1 closest to the Taipei metro area.

There are many people who would like to dismiss the 2014 result as a function of a strong DPP candidate and a weak KMT candidate. However, this is not consistent with survey data. TEDS did a pre-election survey (about 3 weeks before the election). One of the questions asked people rate how much they liked each candidate on a scale of 0 to 10. 36.4% rated Wu higher, while only 28.6% rated Cheng higher. Another question asked what the most important issue was and then asked who would be better at handling that issue. Most people didn’t give an answer, but of the ones who did, 18.3% thought Wu would be better while only 13.9% though Cheng would be better. Remember, this is AFTER the corruption scandal involving Wu’s deputy mayor. Voters didn’t elect Cheng based on his personal popularity.

If it wasn’t the candidate, it almost necessarily had to be the party. TEDS did a post-election survey after the 2009 county magistrate election, and found that the KMT had a 39.9-24.7% edge in party ID. I don’t know what the numbers were in Taoyuan in 2012, but the national numbers were fairly stable during Ma’s first term. I imagine they weren’t far from 40-25%. In the 2014 pre-election poll, the party ID numbers were completely different, with the DPP leading 26.8-26.2%. In other words, the KMT went from a 15.2% advantage in party ID to a 0.6% deficit. This is what propelled Cheng into the mayor’s seat.

How do those numbers translate into legislative districts? I suppose I could break them out, but I won’t for two very good reasons. First, I can’t do it precisely. Since Taoyuan and Zhongli districts are split among different legislative districts, I’d have to know which neighborhood each respondent lived it. TEDS did not ask that question. Second, even if I could do it, I probably shouldn’t. With a total sample size of 1000, each of six districts would have a sample size of less than 200. If your subsample doesn’t have at least 400 respondents, it is probably too small to tell you anything useful. (Remember this the next time you look at survey results. The media is always breathlessly reporting results based on tiny subsamples.)

Instead of giving precise numbers, let’s do this qualitatively. If the two parties are tied in PID overall, we can certainly guess that the KMT has an advantage some areas while the DPP has an advantage in others. In particular, the KMT probably still has an edge in D3, D5, and D6. This must mean that the DPP has an edge in D1, D2, and D4. I don’t know how big those edges are, but I’m pretty sure that the three KMT incumbents in D3, D5, and D6 are effectively running downhill, while the three KMT incumbents in D1, D2, and D4 are running uphill.

To put it another way, given Tsai Ing-wen’s enormous lead in the polls right now, she will probably beat Chu in all six of Taoyuan’s legislative districts. She will probably also win an outright majority (beating Chu plus Soong) in D1, D2, and D4. The question then is whether those KMT incumbents can create enough split tickets to make up the deficit.

I’m most skeptical about Liao Cheng-ching 廖正井, the KMT incumbent in D2. Liao won the district eight years ago, but he had the seat stripped due to vote-buying and the DPP won the seat in a by-election. Liao’s conviction was overturned on appeal (on what I consider dubious grounds) just before the KMT finalized its 2012 nominations. Since he was no longer ineligible, the KMT reshuffled its plans and nominated him. He squeaked out a razor-thin victory, running behind President Ma and well behind the larger blue camp vote. He has had four years to work the district, but I’m not convinced he has ever been that strong. This year his opponent is also a Hakka from Yangmei, so he can’t call for local or ethnic solidarity. (According to her Wikipedia page, the DPP’s husband has a spotty criminal record (read: he is/was in organized crime). So this race is between a gangster’s wife and a convicted vote buyer. Hooray for democracy!) I think Liao is probably going down.

The other two are harder to predict. Chen Ken-te 陳根德 (D1) has been in the legislature since 1998, and Yang Li-huan 楊麗環 (D4) has been in since 2001. Both came up from the grassroots. Chen was previously in the county council, where he served a term as speaker, while Yang started her career as a neighborhood chief. These two have been working grassroots connections forever. Of all the competitive districts this year, these might the two with the strongest personal bases. They’re certainly in the top five. Will that be enough to overcome the partisan deficit?

Go back to those city council results. There is quite a gap between the mayoral results and the council results. The mayoral election is essentially a national-level fight. Voters think of it in national partisan terms. It’s not too much to suggest that a vote for Wu was a vote of confidence in President Ma while a vote for Cheng was a vote against Ma and for Tsai. The city council vote was much more local. Some voters voted on national partisan considerations, but many voters made their choices based on local networks, patronage, friendship, family recommendations, local development projects, constituency service, and so on. Independent candidates don’t have much space for survival in national politics (unless they are actually running as the unofficial representative of one of the big parties), but independents got significant numbers of votes in every city council district. In some, independents got as much as 40% of the vote. Even in D4 (Taoyuan), which had the weakest set of independents, independents still got over 10%. Moreover, since independent candidates usually take most of their votes from the blue pool, many people who vote for the DPP in national-level elections are voting for the KMT in local-level elections.

Technically, a mayor is a local official while a legislator is a national-level official. However, a mayor is much higher up the chain of power. As I have said many times, municipal mayoral winners are automatically on the short list for the presidency. In contrast, many legislators treat their office like a glorified township mayor, spending much more time worrying about the state of local roads or constituency service than on national legislation. In other words, when it comes to voting, a legislator is significantly more local than a municipal mayor. The KMT legislators in D1 and D4 are particularly locally-oriented, and they would love for voters to see these races as local contests. The critical question, then, is whether voters will make their choices thinking about President Ma or the project to upgrade their local playground.


The rally was in a tiny space right next to the campaign office. I’ve never understood why organizers feel the need to hold rallies right next to the office just because the rally has been designated as an office-opening event. We were jammed into an intersection of two narrow streets. The crowd couldn’t spill out off the streets because we were in the middle of muddy fields. I don’t think it was possible to jam more than 2500 people into the cross, and most of them had terrible viewing angles. The crowd had almost all been bused in, and it was dead.

Let me pause here for a digression. A couple weeks ago, I went to the rally to open Chu’s southern Taoyuan campaign office. It was huge, with maybe 12,000 people completely filling a huge space. I had to squeeze along the edges for about 15 minutes just to find some open space. It wasn’t just big. It was rocking! It might have been the most enthusiastic rally I’ve been to this year. Chu wasn’t doing well at all nationally and the Jennifer Wang 王如玄 controversy was breaking wide open, but his people in Taoyuan turned out in force to support him. It was an emotional display unlike anything I’ve seen in New Taipei or anywhere else. Chu was their boy, and they were behind him 100%. I thought I would be going to a similar rally last night, but it wasn’t anything like the one two weeks ago. Last night’s rally was tiny and cold. Two weeks ago, the atmosphere was raucous, defiant, and maybe even optimistic. Last night, it was defensive and maybe a little defeatist. I’m not suggesting the campaign is running out of steam or anything like that. I’m just surprised that the people in one office in one part of Chu’s hometown could organize such a great event while the people in the other part did such a terrible job.

It wasn’t entirely the audience’s fault that they were bored. This event had one of the most uncharismatic lineups of speakers that I have ever sat through. Chu’s former deputy magistrate was almost a caricature of a droning bureaucrat, and he was supposed to be the person whipping up a fever for Chu’s big entrance. Who decided to let him near the microphone? More surprisingly, the three legislative candidates were also pretty bad at public speaking. I guess they must be REALLY good at constituency service.

Chen Ken-te remarked that the KMT still hadn’t emerged out of the shadow of last year’s election debacle. He then explained the reason for that defeat: the KMT had let down its guard and hadn’t fully mobilized. In other words, Chen was insisting that there is no need for the KMT to engage in any painful soul-searching or reform. They just need to make sure they mobilize all their voters. A couple other speakers echoed this theme. One of them talked about the 40% of voters who are hesitant to tell survey interviewers that they support the KMT. Presumably, he was assuming that the 40% undecided are all going to vote for Chu, so the KMT is actually well on its way to winning this election. These people who are willfully ignoring all the signs of the impending disaster! They are like children putting their hands over their ears and screaming “La, la, la, I don’t hear you!”

The city council vice speaker touched on another prominent theme: the KMT has a sparkling record in local politics. He claimed that under Chu and Wu, Taoyuan had a better record of local development than any other city or county in Taiwan. Several of them pointed to the area we were in, which was a newly redistricted area and had several building projects. They also talked proudly about the plan to develop the land around the airport. When Eric Chu spoke, he pointed to a new road he had overseen that was now lined with tall buildings. This was not your ordinary laundry list; they were genuinely bragging about what they considered to be a great job. As one of them wondered, How can the voters possibly vote against us after we have done all this?

I think this might be precisely where they are failing. Every time I go to Taoyuan, my impression is that Taoyuan is, well, difficult. The cities are particularly cramped, the roads are too narrow, the water quality and supply is terrible, industrial pollution is a problem, and there just isn’t enough public infrastructure. Things might get better after the MRT lines open and they might be better in the newly developed areas, but I think the old neighborhoods where most people live are still going to be difficult. As for their vaunted land development, I wasn’t that impressed. These were former agricultural fields that they could have done anything with. I saw lots of narrow streets that will be inadequate to support the large populations in the tall buildings they are planning. It’s as if no one makes any profit by building wider roads. We are still reaping the benefits of the Japanese bureaucrats who built wide roads in downtown Taipei and Kaohsiung. Future generations will wonder why KMT planners couldn’t do the same in Taoyuan. When KMT politicians crow about their great construction achievements, I wonder if they don’t alienate more people than they impress.


I have one more note about the D4 race that doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere, so I’ll tack it on at the end. The DPP candidate in D4 is an old warhorse, Cheng Pao-ching 鄭寶清. He has been around since the mid-1990s, but he never made much of an impression on me. During the second Chen term, he lost the 2005 magistrate election, and he was then given a sinecure as the head of the Taiyen (Taiwan Salt) corporation. Mrs. Garlic tells me that he was the one who spearheaded Taiyen’s highly profitable move into the cosmetics market. Wikipedia says he has founded three biotech companies since leaving Taiyen. But that’s not the fun part. A week or so ago, I went to a rally for Chen Lai Su-mei 陳賴素美, the DPP candidate in D2. Apparently, she once worked as Cheng’s aide, so Cheng showed up to stump for her. I only remember one thing he said. He is the thirteenth child in his family. There are sixteen altogether. All sixteen have the same mother and the same father, and mom gave birth to sixteen kids in sixteen years. When Tsai Ing-wen showed up, I couldn’t help but remember that she is the eleventh child. Can you imagine someone having sixteen or eleven children today? In all the ways that Taiwan has changed over the past centuries, this might be one of the most dramatic.

Debates? Bah, humbug!

December 28, 2015

I stayed at home on Sunday to watch the presidential debate. I’m not going to write much about it because (a) someone else probably will and (b) they won’t matter very much.

Everyone always gets excited about presidential debates since they are the last major thing on the election campaign schedule that could conceivably change the outcome. The losing side always pins a lot of hope on them, probably as a way to keep up morale. However, debates rarely sway any significant number of people. The type of people who watch debates tend to be the type of people who have already made up their minds and won’t be swayed by a verbal gaffe. American primary debates might have an impact because the voters don’t know much about any of the candidates and all the candidates are from the same party. However, in these presidential debates, we all know Tsai, Chu, and Soong pretty well by now, and they have very strong partisan affiliations. We might have learned something about the VP candidates from their debate (which I’ll eventually get around to watching on youtube), but almost no one decides their presidential vote based on the VP candidate.

In case you really want to know, my quick recap is as follows. Tsai seemed angry throughout the first half of the debate. Both Tsai and Chu made petty sounding attacks and came off as a bit of jerks. Soong, as the third place candidate that the other two ignored, got to step back and sound presidential. Predictably, he also cried. They went over the same old themes, repeating the same old lines. The only things that were really interesting were Soong’s dissection of the 92 Consensus and Tsai’s interpretation of what happened at the Hong Kong meeting in 1992. Again, this whole shebang will have almost no impact on the polls, which seem to have been fairly stable for the last month and a half.

Christmas tree, FG style

December 23, 2015

When I was a kid, my family was always the last on the block to put up our Christmas tree. The other families put theirs up between the day after Thanksgiving and the first week of December. Ours never went up before December 20th, and sometimes it was as late as Christmas Eve. This year I’ve broken the family tradition. I started preparing for the tree over a month ago. I put it up about three weeks ago, and I’ve been adding decorations ever since. I guess you just need the right incentives! (Maybe I need a bigger tree.) Happy election holiday! (And whatever that other holiday is, have a happy one of those too!)



Campaign Trail: PFP/MKT rally

December 20, 2015

I finally broke through the KMT-DPP duopoly today and went to a rally for someone else. There was a big rally for the James Soong 宋楚瑜 and Hsu Hsin-ying 徐欣瑩 ticket today in Taipei.

I still don’t know quite what to make of the MKT or the MKT-PFP collaboration. Hsu’s party is a weird combination of old fashioned local organization, high tech money, a cultish pseudo-religious group, and a strong strain of authoritarian Chinese nationalism that hides behind everything else. Soong’s party brings a credible candidate and some actual voters. All these elements were on display at today’s rally.

There were about 9,000 people at the rally. Judging by their signs, at least half of them seemed to have been bused in from Hsinchu County. Many others came from Miaoli and other places with an MKT candidate. This local support base is the most obvious base for the MKT. Hsu Hsin-ying managed her constituency fairly well, and she probably would have won re-election if she had stayed in Hsinchu County. She certainly was able to mobilize a good crowd for this event. Like most mobilized groups, they were fairly old and only moderately enthusiastic.

The PFP politicians didn’t have as many clearly organized blocks of supporters in the crowd. The few that I did see were a lot smaller than the MKT blocks. There was also a block of supporters for Lee Ching-yuan 李慶元, the independent Taipei city councilor running in Taipei 8. (Lee and PFP city councilor Huang Shan-shan 黃珊珊 were the only members of the DPP-Ko Wen-je supported Capitol Forward Alliance that I noticed today.) However, there were a lot of people sitting and standing around the edges of the crowd who I suspect were PFP supporters. Some of them were carrying old Soong or PFP signs. Others just looked different. I am guessing that most of the unmobilized crowd, especially the families with young children, were more likely to be there to support Soong and the PFP than Hsu and the MKT.

Visually, the crowd was a fantastic sea of roiling orange and mustard yellow flags. Again, you could see the MKT’s organizational muscle. Even though the PFP is the older and probably more popular party, the MKT’s logo and colors were far more pervasive. Attendees were all handed a MKT flag, a Soong-Hsu flag, and a MKT hat. No one was handing out PFP flags or hats. There were also far more MKT banners and large flags waving around.

Some of the MKT’s organizational power comes from having lots of young party workers. The MKT has apparently developed ties with quite a few college and university student groups, especially those dealing with meditation, tai chi, or Buddhism. I used the term “developed ties with” in an attempt to sound as neutral as possible. However, the way most people have described the relationship to me is with far more loaded words, such as “penetrated,” “infiltrated,” or Chinese terms with similarly loaded meanings. They also have used terms like “brainwash” and “cult.” I don’t know about those, but it is evident that there are a lot of student-aged MKT volunteers.

The MKT also had a huge security team. As I was taking pictures near the stage, about 50 guys dressed to look like official security workers formed a human wall to push people back further away from the stage. I’m not sure what they were trying to accomplish. None of the party leaders was coming down the stage into the crowd, and they left the other side of the stage entirely unguarded. It seemed like they were just there to look tough and impressive. (I, for one, wasn’t impressed.)

The rally was televised on one of the cable stations, so they had to stick to a tight schedule. Hsu had her 20 minute speech, and Soong had his 20 minute speech. Hsu’s speech was rather uninspiring. She spoke in platitudes about how Taiwanese are honest and hard-working. She tried to talk about specific policies, but the message that came through to me was that she doesn’t know many details. For example, she talked for a long time about educational reform, but the main point seemed to be simply that every child needed to have the opportunity to get a good education. I wondered if she was time-traveling back to 1960 and proposing building elementary schools in every village. She also claimed that the DPP and KMT hadn’t bothered to invest in Taiwan at all during the previous 16 years, so she was planning to widen all the expressways. I lived in central Taiwan 20 years ago, and I can tell you that there are lots of new roads and expressways. We also have a few new MRT systems and a high speed rail system. I’m mystified by her complaint. I’m not sure how many people in the audience were also confused, since very few of them seemed to be listening. She isn’t a very charismatic speaker, and the host had to break in a couple of times to stir up a little enthusiasm.

Overall, I’m still a bit confused as to why Hsu is making a play for national leadership. She isn’t overly charismatic, and she doesn’t have any specific signature ideal that she wants to promote. She doesn’t seem to be a policy nerd, and she doesn’t seem to be representing any sizeable national block of voters. She has a strong organizational base, and she seems to have managed her constituency well. That kind of politician is usually best off staying in the local district. The only thing I can come up is that either she has grossly overestimated or I have grossly underestimated how many votes her organizational muscle can produce. I’m not at all confident the MKT will still be around in a year.

It has been a while since I’ve seen James Soong out on the stump, and I had forgotten just how good he is. At age 73, Soong is still energetic, passionate, sharp, likeable, and still oozing charisma. His basic message was the both the DPP and KMT have failed Taiwan over the past 16 years, and what the country needs is a leader with experience, vision, and the ability to get things done. He didn’t bother attacking the DPP too much; most of his firepower was aimed at President Ma. For example, he spat out disgustedly that Ma had a labor minister who sued workers and an education minister who charged students with crimes. “Does that make you proud?” he demanded. “Does it?” He also talked about lots of projects that Ma hasn’t gotten done, questioning whether Ma had any idea what it meant to be a leader. For example, a few days ago Ma criticized the slow pace of construction for the new bio-tech complex at Academia Sinica. (I still haven’t seen anyone make the explicit connection, but I’m pretty sure he’s attacking DPP VP candidate Chen Chien-jen, who was the Academia Sinica VP from the life sciences division.) Soong wanted to know why Ma didn’t know about the progress of his own important projects, and he complained that the two sides were simply trying to push the responsibility to the other. “Is that leadership? Is that called taking responsibility?”

Soong also played to ideological themes. He noted that there is public discussion of whether the KMT is trying to sell off some of its party assets before its impending loss of power. He was dismissive of this mindset, saying that money comes and goes. However, what the KMT didn’t understand was that its most important party assets were Sun Yat-sen’s Three People’s Principles and the spirit of service left by Chiang Ching-kuo. The KMT had squandered these precious assets without even realizing it, Soong railed. At the end of his speech, Soong did something that I haven’t seen before. I think they were running late on time because the host kept trying to cut in. However, Soong insisted on continuing, and he invited (ordered) the crowd to join him in saluting the ROC flag. “Salute!” [Ten seconds of silence.] “Salute!” [More silence.] No one else seemed to be aware that he was going to do this. In fact, it took the cameras quite a long time to find an ROC flag to put up on the video board. Only after very ostentatious display of old-fashioned ROC nationalism did he wrap up his speech and yield the microphone.



Some MKT supporters. This group is old and grumpy.



These MKT supporters are young and enthusiastic. You rarely see people so young in groups mobilized by the KMT or DPP.



The sign identifies this group as the eighth bus from Zhubei township in Hsinchu County.



Two enthusiastic MKT supporters. Note that they are wearing ID badges. That’s different.



Way at the back of the crowd, this group is the 5th bus from Xinfeng township in Hsinchu County. If I remember correctly, Hsu Hsin-ying’s father was once mayor of Xinfeng.



This group is here to support Lee Ching-yuan, the independent.



This group belongs to current legislator Lee Hung-chun, who is running for re-election on the PFP list rather than in his current district, New Taipei 4.



They had a booth for children to color pictures.



These apparently were elite volunteers responsible for taking care of VIP guests. It seems kind of creepy to me to have these sorts of class distinctions at a democratic event like an election rally.



A row of signs and flags forms a nice backdrop to the speakers on stage. What I didn’t realize when I took this picture was that the pseudo-security team was just about to occupy the empty space.



These are not real police or secret service agents. Note that their uniforms are all a little different. They are officialish-looking people organized into a security team.



The guys on the outer edges don’t have uniforms, but they are clearly part of the same security group. This group has a bit too much paramilitary flavor for me. Remember, the KMT once had its own group of thugs modeled after the Nazi SS. This group strikes me as what we might call “authoritarian-nostaligia.”



Let’s go back to the happy parts of the rally. Here the people near the back of the audience stand up and push toward the middle as they await the big entrance by Soong and Hsu.



The legislative candidates await Soong and Hsu. The PFP candidates are on the left, and the MKT candidates are on the right.



Hsu Hsin-ying makes her speech.



Soong makes a point.

IMAG2476.jpg凍蒜! [Frozen Garlic!]

turnout and China

December 18, 2015

Every now and then, someone will see a chart like this one and wonder what is wrong with Taiwan’s democracy.


This chart clearly shows that turnout has declined during the quarter century of democracy here in Taiwan. You can see one important reason the Central Election Commission chose to hold legislative and presidential elections concurrently: the turnout for legislative elections is about 20% in concurrent elections (like in 2012) than when legislative elections are held by themselves.

There are a few reasons that we could talk about for the turnout rates in individual elections. The 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were particularly intense, so turnout was probably particularly high. The 1998 legislative election was held concurrently with mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung, so higher turnout in those two cities pulled up the national average. The 2008 legislative and 2012 elections (and the upcoming 2016 elections) were held close to the Lunar New Year holiday, so many voters living elsewhere might have been hesitant to make two trips back to their official residence within a short time. However, even considering about all this, I think it is fair to say that there has been a decline in turnout over time.

There is one more factor that people rarely talk about. There have always been a significant number of Taiwanese who live outside the island. For example, my guess is that the number of Taiwanese living in the USA is probably similar to that number in the mid-1990s. However, the number of Taiwanese living in China has skyrocketed over this period. No one has a good number for this. People commonly throw around round numbers like one or two million Taiwanese in China. One of my mentors thinks it might be as high as four million, based on staring at years of survey results. Again, no one knows what this number is (though lots of people will tell you they know), and the government does not seem to publish this number. Let’s just assume that the number is two million Taiwanese living in China. That means that nearly 10% of Taiwanese live in China. Presumably, they include a higher proportion of adults than the population at large, so they could easily comprise over 10% of the electorate. Look at those slides in turnout again and think about the 10% missing voters. The China population could account for the entire decline.

But wait, you say! Those people can still vote. Sure, they have to return to Taiwan, but there are lots of extra flights (at cheaper prices) every election. There is a massive mobilization effort each time by the KMT, the Taiwanese business communities, and the PRC to get those people back to Taiwan and into voting booths. After all, the KMT and PRC both assume that Taiwanese living in China will overwhelmingly favor the KMT, so they have a strong incentive to turn out that vote.

Well, we can actually look at some numbers. Spoiler alert: most people don’t come back to vote.

I started this inquiry stupidly, by counting the number of flights landing in Taiwan from China every day. Today, Friday, December 18, 107 flights landed at Taoyuan, Songshan, and Kaohsiung airports. Tomorrow, 82 flights will land. I’m going to assume yesterday represents all weekdays and tomorrow represents all Saturdays and Sundays. Let’s assume that no one will return to vote more than a week before the election. So in the average week before an election, about 700 flights from China will land in Taiwan. If each flight has 200 seats, that makes 140,000 arrivals. Assume all of those are voters (no Chinese tourists, no one makes two flights, no children, no one goes back before Saturday…). There were 18,086,455 eligible voters in 2012 (it will be higher this year), so those 140,000 would constitute just under 1% of the electorate.

But wait a minute. Taiwan is the best in the world when it comes to open data. Can’t I get some better number than that? You betcha! The Civil Aeronautics Administration publishes data on arrivals. Scroll down this massive 2014 annual report to page 177 (Table 49, 3rd panel), and you find that in 2013 33,538 flights with 7,215,056 seats, and 5,566,967 actual passengers arrived from China. Divide those numbers by 52 to get the average week, and you have 645 flights with a capacity of 138,751 seats, and an average of 107,057 actual passengers per week. So it appears my back of the envelope numbers were too large.

Note that in December 2014, when there was an election, the number of arrivals wasn’t much different from August-November. In fact, a news story I found floating around on the internet said that airlines added 46 extra flights coming from the USA, Japan, and other countries for the 2014 election period, but there were already enough seats on the China flights to meet demand. That seems to be the case, since only 76.0% of the seats were filled.

Perhaps you think that a presidential race is different from a local mayoral race. Well, here is the 2012 report. Again, the data you want are on Table 49. There were fewer overall flights, seats, and arrivals in January 2012, but January 2012 does not look that much different from March or later months. (February is lower because of the holiday.)

We can do better than that, though. The National Immigration Agency keeps statistics on how many Chinese enter the country. The overwhelming majority of Chinese in Taiwan are tourists, and these enter almost entirely by airplane. There might be some who come through third countries, but, for simplicity, let’s just assume that every Chinese tourist displaces a potential voter. In 2014, 3,328,224 tourists arrived, a weekly average of 64,004. Since there were 107,057 passengers a week, that only leaves 43,053 spots a week for Taiwanese voters. Everyone assumes that there will be fewer Chinese tourists as we get closer to the election. This story in Liberty Times estimated that the daily number of Chinese tourists might decline by as much as 40%. (Surprisingly, I don’t see any evidence of this sort of drop in the 2014 arrivals data.) This would imply about 38,000 Chinese tourists in the week before the election, leaving about 69,000 seats for Taiwanese voters. 69,000 votes would constitute about 0.4% of the 2012 electorate.

You can make objections that this number is too low. Some people will travel through Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Seoul, or other points to get from China to Taiwan. However, you can also argue that the number is too high. Some of those seats will be filled by children, people who return to China before the election, Americans, and other people who won’t vote in the election.


In short, a large number of voters – maybe 10% of the electorate – live in China, and only a very small number – maybe 0.5% of the electorate – will come home to vote. In effect, these people have voluntarily taken themselves out of the electorate. If these are predominantly blue camp sympathizers, as nearly everyone assumes, this is a tremendous boost to the DPP push for the presidency and a legislative majority. Wouldn’t it be ironic if one of the primary effects of the KMT and PRC’s push to integrate Taiwan’s economy into China’s were to effectively remove an enormous block of pro-integration voters from the electorate, thus making political integration less likely?

VP schedules

December 16, 2015

It’s probably not news to anyone that the KMT’s choice of Jennifer Wang for VP hasn’t been well received. But just in case you thought that maybe it was all overblown, here’s some evidence.

Chu’s official campaign website lists the public schedules each day for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. It has been exactly a month since they started posting Wang’s daily schedule. My strategy is simply to count the number of events they list for each candidate each day. If there is a big discrepancy between the two, it might reflect the campaign’s unwillingness to put Wang on display. In fact, I count 119 events for Chu and only 44 for Wang. There was only one day (Dec 6) in which Wang had more scheduled events than Chu.

Date day Chu Wang
11.18 W 1 1
11.19 Th 2 2
11.20 F 3 0
11.21 Sa 3 2
11.22 Su 5 3
11.23 M 6 1
11.24 Tu 0 0
11.25 W 4 0
11.26 Th 8 5
11.27 F 0 0
11.28 Sa 6 0
11.29 Su 9 0
11.30 M 3 0
12.1 Tu 2 0
12.2 W 5 0
12.3 Th 7 3
12.4 F 3 3
12.5 Sa 9 5
12.6 Su 3 4
12.7 M 1 0
12.8 Tu 4 1
12.9 W 4 0
12.10 Th 2 2
12.11 F 2 0
12.12 Sa 6 4
12.13 Su 8 2
12.14 M 2 0
12.15 Tu 5 4
12.16 W 3 1
12.17 Th 3 1
total   119 44


In fact, this overestimates how useful Wang has been to the Chu campaign. If you look at the events, Chu goes to a lot of large scale outdoor events where he speaks to bigger crowds. Wang’s events tend to be much smaller and indoors. If you look at the names of the events, it is also obvious that she is only being allowed to speak to very select, strongly partisan audiences. For example, Saturdays are the most important day for campaigning. On Saturday, December 12, Chu spoke at 6 events. 5 of these were outdoor events to launch a campaign office. Wang attended 4 events, including an awards ceremony for the CKS scholarship, an event at a Catholic organization, a luncheon with a support group in Taipei’s Peitou District, and the opening ceremony for the women’s support organization for Chiang Wan-an’s campaign. All four of these seem to be indoor, small-scale events.

I would do the same exercise for the DPP, but I can’t. The DPP posts daily schedules, but then they remove them at the end of each day. However, my impression from looking up the schedules several times is that they use Chen Chien-jen much more intensively than the KMT uses Wang. Chen seems to be scheduled for nearly as many events as Tsai, and he does a lot of mid-sized events. Tsai does all the major events, but Chen stands in as the main speaker at a lot of events to open smaller campaign offices.

It’s not as if vice-presidential candidates matter that much. Still, it is telling that the KMT seems to be shielding Wang from the public as much as possible. Of course, they can’t completely hide her away; that would be publicly admitting that she was a bad choice. Instead, they seem to be exposing her as little as possible and only to carefully screened audiences. As much as has gone wrong for the KMT’s presidential campaign this year, they could have used at least one thing going right. Oh well.


2012 electoral data

December 16, 2015

Since it seems not to be commonly available and people might want the data during the next month, here are the results of the 2012 presidential and legislative elections broken down into the 73 legislative electoral districts.

I thought I posted this after the 2012 election, but maybe I’m imagining that.

2012 master by lydist


A response to Kharis’s forecast

December 14, 2015

Kharis Templeman has taken a crack at predicting the legislative election outcome, and he has made some interesting points. Some of these points suggest that my previous analysis is misguided, so I went back to the data to see what I would find.

(Note to readers: We academics love it when someone says we are wrong. It challenges us to recheck and rethink our conclusions. Also, if you get into a long, drawn out argument in published articles, both people’s citation counts go up. Everyone wins! If you don’t know Kharis, he’s a smart guy who is going to be an important voice in Taiwan studies for years to come. Now, here’s why he is completely wrong!)

The biggest point he slams me for is a bit off key. I have previously stated that I expect KMT district candidates to run a bit ahead of the KMT presidential candidates in 2016. Kharis looks at the 2012 results and finds that KMT district candidates actually ran behind Ma. He concludes that, if 2012 is anything like 2016, there is no reason to expect that KMT district candidates will run ahead of the presidential candidate. Note the caveat. My implicit assumption has always been that 2016 won’t be anything like 2012, but I suppose it is my fault for not stating that explicitly. 2012 divided almost as perfectly as one could expect along blue/green lines. If you voted for a blue candidate for president, you almost certainly also voted for a blue party on the party list vote, and you probably voted for a blue district candidate. There were some deviations at the district level, but these were relatively minor. Moreover, Ma mostly marginalized Soong in the presidential election. Ma got most of the blue votes, and KMT district candidates also soaked up most of these blue votes. I don’t expect 2016 to look like this. The problem isn’t with the district candidates; the problem is with the KMT presidential candidates. Because first Hung and now Chu are such weak candidates, I doubt they will be able to absorb all voters sympathetic to the blue side. Some will defect to Soong, and some will defect to Tsai. Rather than saying I expect the KMT legislative candidates to run ahead of Chu, maybe I should say that I expect Chu to run behind them. The blue/green divide might be somewhere around 40-55 right now. I think blue district candidates will collectively be at or slightly above that 40 (or whatever it is), but I expect Chu will be quite a bit below it.


What about the point that KMT candidates ran further behind Ma than DPP candidates ran behind Tsai?

First, a bit of methods. I consider the “independents” in Taichung 2 and Penghu to be KMT candidates. I don’t consider the two candidates the DPP supported in Taoyuan 6 and Taipei 7 to be unofficial DPP members in quite the same way, but I’ll include them in the DPP totals for the sake of this exercise. This yields KMT candidates in all 73 districts and DPP candidates in all but Kinmen and Lienchiang. There might also be a few other minor discrepancies in our data. (ex: Tsai got 25.9% in Hualien, not 29.9%.)

Anyway, my initial results are a bit like Kharis’s. For all 73 districts, I show the KMT candidates running slightly more behind:

KMT: -3.7%            DPP: -0.7%

Like Kharis, my next move is to divide up the data into districts that can be more easily compared. There are four districts that should simply be thrown away since the DPP didn’t nominate any candidates in Kinmen, Lienchiang, Taipei 7, and Taoyuan 6. There are also many districts in which third party candidates got lots of votes. I divide the data set by looking at the two party vote, creating categories for districts in which the two parties got more than 95% of the total vote, 90-94.9%, and 70-89.9%.

Two-party vote N KMT DPP
Discarded 4 -23.0 -9.1
70%<x<89.9% 12 -14.2 -4.1
90%<x<94.9% 9 -3.3 -1.2
x>95% 48 +0.5 +1.0

In the true two party races, the two major parties are about even. (This is quite a bit different from Kharis’s numbers. I don’t know why.) They each soak up all of the support from their respective party’s presidential candidate. The KMT’s problem was with third party candidates. When these candidates won significant amounts of votes, they tended to steal more KMT votes than DPP votes. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been watching Taiwanese electoral politics for the past thirty years. Independent candidates’ votes have traditionally come out of the KMT’s pool of votes.

We can further break down those 48 true two party races by looking at districts with KMT incumbents, DPP incumbents, and no incumbents. (Note: I coded incumbents from memory, so there might be some errors.)

Incumbent N KMT DPP
KMT 30 +2.2 -0.5
DPP 10 -3.1 +4.5
Open 8 -1.5 +2.1

Predictably, incumbents tend to run ahead of their presidential candidates. Nine of the ten DPP incumbents in two party races ran ahead of Tsai. (The tenth was Chen Ming-wen in Chiayi 2 who barely bothered campaigning.) The KMT incumbents were not quite as impressive. 23 of the 30 ran ahead of Ma. However, four of the seven who did not ended up losing (Changhua 4, Penghu, Taichung 6, and Kaohsiung 8). Incumbents don’t always beat challengers, but, in general, you’d rather your party had an incumbent than have to challenge one. This is why the KMT’s biggest advantage this year is that it is running 40 incumbents. Many of these will be in districts that Tsai will win decisively. Some of those will lose, but the KMT’s hope is that a handful will be able to overcome the partisan disadvantage and rely on their personal popularity to stay in office.


Kharis suggests that the DPP’s magic number for a legislative majority is roughly 57% of the presidential vote. This is obtained by looking at New Taipei 10 (which I also think is a likely candidate for the 57th DPP seat). In 2012, Tsai lost to Ma in New Taipei 10, by 52.4-44.8%. If you look at Ma + Soong, Tsai lost by a margin of 55.2-44.8, or 10.4%. Kharis suggests that to make up this deficit, Tsai needs to increase her national vote from 45.6% by 10.4% plus an additional 0.8% because DPP candidates ran slightly behind her in 2012 to reach the magic 57%. However, I think he is assuming that the KMT vote share stays the same. If so, this means that the DPP would win New Taipei 10 by a margin of 56.0% to 55.2%, which is mathematically impossible. Obviously, if Tsai goes up 10%, the blue camp vote is going to have to go down by 10%. 57% nationally for Tsai with very little split ticket voting (as Kharis suggests is likely) will yield a sizeable majority for the DPP. Actually, if you assume away split ticket voting, 52% would probably be enough. However, incumbents do matter, so I think the DPP’s national vote will probably have to be a bit higher than 52%. My guess is that 53-4% would do it. That number is not entirely pulled out of thin air. If you look at this post, New Taipei 10 stays with the KMT if the gap between the two big parties is 5% (roughly 52.5-47.5%) but flips to the DPP when the gap grows to 7% (or 53.5-46.5%). If the DPP got the magic 57% (a gap of 14%), that model suggests the DPP will win around 52-56 district seats. (Note: This 57% is assumed to only be adjusted for a modest incumbency advantage. It does not assume that Tsai would win any blue camp votes.)