Posts Tagged ‘primary’

City council incumbents

September 20, 2010

When they announced the numbers of seats in each of the direct municipalities, it was clear that the elections would be very different in terms of degree of difficulty.  Xinbei City is essentially our control case.  The number of seats in Xinbei, 66,  is the same as the number of seats elected in the old Taipei County in 2005.  So winning a seat this year is roughly as easy as it was before.  (Ok, if you want to be a stickler, Taipei County only had 65 seats in 2005.  They added one more aboriginal seat this year.)

The formulae converting population to seats were not quite the same for counties and direct municipalities.  So in order to hold Xinbei City constant, they had to adjust the law for direct municipalities.  As a result, even though there has been no administrative change in Taipei City, it increases from 52 seats to 63 seats.  This makes a seat in the Taipei City Council easier than ever to win.

The other three direct municipalities are much more difficult.  Because they smashed together two independent administrative units, each of which had its own council, the resulting councils are relatively small.  Taichung goes from 103 seats to only 63; Tainan is reduced from 91 to 57 seats, and Kaohsiung goes from 98 to 66 seats.  In short, it is much harder to win a seat this year than it was last time around.

You can see this reflected in whether incumbents decided to run for re-election.  I put together a data set of 410 winners last time around.[1] 342 (83%) have registered to run for re-election.  What of the other 68?  Conventionally, we would say they “retired.”  However, that term holds a lot of possibilities, and I’m really interested in what happened to them.

Quick Google searches turned up quite a bit of interesting tidbits.  7 of the 68 were ineligible.  2 died in office, and 5 were stripped of their seats by the courts for various offences.  8 others had court cases or other scandals reported in the news.  (My favorite was Tainan City Council member Li Qingxin, who went out to a KTV, met a prostitute, and brought her back to the lounge in the city council where he and his new friend were spotted by his son and daughter who he employed on his staff.  They quickly called their mother, and she and the daughter confronted him while the son took pictures on his cell phone.)  3 others won seats in the legislature.

There are also people who retire in order to pass the seat to the next generation.  I found news stories of 7 such cases, including one Taichung City Councilor took a post in the city government and is trying to elect his wife to his old seat.  There is also a case of a councilor who died and whose son is running for the seat, but I don’t want to double count that case.

This accounts for 25 of the 68 “retirees.”  14 more lost primaries and did not register for the general election.  That makes only 29 of 410 incumbents who “willingly” yielding their seats.  That is a very low number, and even that still hides some people who really wanted to run for re-election but were convinced or pressured to step aside.  And, of course, I might have missed some scandals or children.

Geographically, there is a clear difference between Taipei and everywhere else.  In Taipei, one person is now in the legislature, two are running their children, and the other 49 are ALL running for re-election.   Of Xinbei’s 65 incumbents, one is running his son, 57 are running for re-election, and there are 7 unexplained retirements.  In the other three cities, retirement rates are much higher (56 of 292).  On the other hand, once you correct for all the stripped seats, scandals, and so on, the proportion (22 of 292) who willingly stepped aside is, if anything, lower than Xinbei.

So, let’s talk about incumbents in party primaries.   179 incumbents competed for KMT nominations.  149 won.  (148 registered for the general election.  The other dropped out.)  We really care most about the losers.   Of the 30 losers, 7 accepted the results and retired.  23 registered for the general election as independents.

On the DPP side, 114 incumbents contested the primaries, and 12 lost.  Of those 12, 7 accepted the loss.  5 did not.  1 is running as a TSU nominee, and the other 4 are running as independents.

Incumbents losing primaries are interesting because this is one measure of party strength and cohesion.  Parties want primaries to be binding, for losers to accept losing, so that there aren’t too many candidates drawing from the same pool of votes in the general election.  From this perspective, the KMT’s primaries look like a colossal failure, with 23 of 30 losers not accepting the result.  However, we are only halfway through the game.  Losers don’t accept losing because they have strong commitments to party ideals, they accept losing because they don’t think they can with the general election without the party nomination.  In other words, voters can enforce party discipline by not voting for primary losers.  We can’t tell how strong the party is or how successful the primary process was until after the general election.

[1] There were only 409 seats.  I added Lin Guocheng in Taipei City.  Cai Kunlong was stripped of his seat, and the seat was awarded to Lin.  There were four other people I know of who were stripped of their seats, but I don’t know who, if anyone, replaced them.

KMT telephone survey results

April 26, 2010

The KMT finished its telephone surveys for the Taipei City,  Tainan City, and Kaohsiung City mayoral nominations last week.  They did not release the numbers, but here are the general results.

Hao Longbin 郝龍斌 won in Taipei City and will be nominated soon.  This surprises no one.

In Tainan City Guo Tiancai 郭添財 beat Li Quanjiao 李全教, but only by about 3%.  Xie Longjie 謝龍介 was a distant third.  Since this is so close, the KMT will try to negotiate a compromise between the two leaders.  If the negotiations yield no results, it may try another round of surveys with just these two candidates.

In Kaohsiung, Huang Zhaoshun 黃昭順 won.  Lin Yishi 林益世 trailed by about 5%, and Su Yinggui 蘇盈貴 was third.  The KMT will try negotiations or a second round among the top three.

So Tainan and Kaohsiung remain unresolved.

To me, the most interesting comment was from one of the losers in Kaohsiung.  Hou Caifeng 侯彩鳳 remarked that the results were basically what she expected.  After all, Huang is the only candidate who is actively campaigning.  Which makes me ask: Why?  Why aren’t any of the others campaigning?  The DPP candidates are trying like hell, and have been doing so for several months.  In contrast, two of the KMT candidates only announced they would run a week or two before the surveys, and Lai Fengwei 賴峰偉 even announced his candidacy while he was in Penghu.  Of course there are close ties between Penghu and Kaohsiung, but he couldn’t even be bothered to travel to Kaohsiung?  Why didn’t the KMT candidates (other than Huang) exert any effort?

KMT nomination contestants

April 6, 2010

The KMT finished accepting applications for its mayoral nominations on April 3, and it will hold telephone surveys on April 14.  These surveys are not decisive; the KMT can choose to ignore the results or nominate someone else entirely.

In Xinbei City, only Zhu Lilun 朱立倫 filed for the nomination, so there will be no survey.  Technically, the party could still draft someone else, but they won’t.  The contestants in the other cities are as follows:

Taipei City:  Hao Longbin 郝龍斌 (incumbent mayor), Yang Shiqiu 楊實秋 (city council).

Taichung City:  Jason Hu 胡志強 (incumbent Taichung City mayor, former foreign minister), Liu Quanzhong 劉銓忠 (legislator, brother of former speaker, Taichung County Red faction), Ji Guodong 紀國棟 (legislator, Taichung County Black faction).

Tainan City:  Guo Tiancai 郭添財 (former legislator), Li Quanjiao 李全教 (former legislator), Xie Longjie 謝龍介 (Tainan City council).  Both Guo and Li are based in Tainan County.

Kaohsiung City: Huang Zhaoshun 黃昭順 (legislator), Hou Caifeng 侯彩鳳 (legislator), Zhang Xianyao 張顯耀 (legislator), Su Yinggui 蘇盈貴 (former Taipei City Labor Affairs Bureau Chief), Lai Fengwei 賴峰偉 (deputy secretary general of presidential office, former Penghu County executive), Lin Yishi 林益世 (legislator, Kaohsiung County Red faction).  The first five are based in Kaohsiung City, and Lin Yishi is from Kaohsiung County.

In Taipei City, Hao will win easily and Yang will end his quixotic campaign and turn his focus back to retaining his city council seat.  This was probably his purpose anyway.  By spending his money now, he doesn’t have to compete for attention with a dozen other candidates.

I have no idea who will “win” in Tainan City.  They all look weak to me.  The prize is the right to get slaughtered in November.  I’m not sure any of these three can manage 35%, much less a majority.

In Taichung, one possibility is that Liu and Ji will drop out before they get to the polling stage.  I think what they are doing is negotiating the best deal possible for their respective factions.  They don’t have a lot of leverage right now because there is no way either can win the telephone survey segment.  However, an independent campaign by one of them that splits the KMT vote is the most realistic scenario for a KMT loss in this race, so look for the KMT to buy them off.  I expect this to happen earlier rather than later.

In Kaohsiung, the two stage polling plan seems to have disappeared.  Five of the six candidates are from Kaohsiung City, so it would be rather awkward to have a Kaohsiung City poll to determine who would meet the Kaohsiung County winner.  However, they do seem concerned that six candidates is too many.  They might try to convince someone to withdraw, or they might only take the polls as advisory.  If I were them, I’d eliminate three or four candidates, perhaps with a first round of polling, and then use a survey to figure out who the strongest finalist is.  I still think Lin Yishi is the best of the field.  But they don’t ask me.

KMT nomination procedure for Kaohsiung

March 19, 2010

KMT secretary general Jin Pucong 金溥聰 went to Kaohsiung yesterday, met with various influential people and potential candidates, and announced how the KMT would conduct its nomination process.  The KMT will use a two round telephone survey procedure.  In the first round, they will do one survey in Kaohsiung City to find the strongest candidate among politicians hailing from the city.  They will do another survey for Kaohsiung County politicians.  In the second round, they will pit the two winners against each other.  However, they expressly reserved the right to throw the whole thing out and draft someone else if the eventual winner trails the DPP candidates by too much in the polls.  They expect to have a nominee by April 19.

The candidates in Kaohsiung County will be legislators Lin Yishi 林益世, Zhong Shaohe 鍾紹和, Jiang Lingjun 江玲君, and vice-speaker Lu Shumei 陸淑美.  The candidates in Kaohsiung City will include legislators Hou Caifeng 侯彩鳳, Qiu Yi 邱毅, Huang Zhaoshun 黃昭順, former head of the Taipei City Bureau of Labor Affairs Su Yinggui 蘇盈貴, deputy secretary general of the presidential office Lai Fengwei 賴峰偉, and possibly speaker Zhuang Qiwang 莊啟旺.

Well, I guess this is a creative way to sift through the candidates.  I don’t know that it is reasonable in any sort of rational expectations logic to have separate contests for the county and city, but if it is acceptable to the participants, I suppose that is what matters.

Now, it just so happens that TVBS conducted a poll on this race just last week.  They pit both Chen Ju 陳菊 and Yang Qiuxing 楊秋興 against a litany of possible KMT opponents.  I reproduce the results below.

陳菊  Chen Ju vs. 楊秋興Yang Qiuxing vs.
. .
Chen KMT Yang KMT
胡志強 Jason Hu 46 37 胡志強 Jason Hu 43 38
吳敦義 Wu Dunyi 55 34 吳敦義 Wu Dunyi 52 35
王金平 Wang Jinping 55 26 王金平 Wang Jinping 52 25
黃昭順 Huang Zhaoshun 58 28 黃昭順 Huang Zhaoshun 54 30
吳伯雄 Wu Boxiong 56 25 吳伯雄 Wu Boxiong 54 25
黃俊英 Huang Junying 60 26 黃俊英 Huang Junying 56 27
邱毅     Qiu Yi 62 26 邱毅     Qiu Yi 62 24
賴峰偉 Lai Fengwei 67 18 賴峰偉 Lai Fengwei 63 18
盛治仁 Sheng Zhiren 68 17 盛治仁 Sheng Zhiren 64 17
莊啟旺 Zhuang Qiwang 68 16 莊啟旺 Zhuang Qiwang 65 16

You will probably notice a few things.  First, no matter who the KMT and DPP nominees are, the DPP always wins.  Second, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between Chen Ju and Yang Qiuxing (which is probably one reason the DPP side of this race is so intense – it might be closer than I realize).  Third, the top three KMT candidates in this poll aren’t going to be running in the race.  The best candidate (Huang Zhaoshun) on this list and also in Jin Pucong’s list of people to be included in the KMT’s primary loses by 25-30 points.  No wonder the KMT is so pessimistic about this race.

Methodologically, I am fascinated by the lack of difference between Chen and Yang, and also the consistency in the KMT rankings.  On the one hand, I can imagine the bored interviewee being asked about pairing after pairing (“Chen Ju vs a banana peel?  Chen Ju.  Chen Ju vs Buddha? Chen Ju.  Chen Ju vs. Hitler? Chen Ju.  Wait, did you just say banana peel??”)[1] So part of me is not surprised that “the DPP person” had similar results whether it was Chen or Yang.  Yet, somehow the aggregate numbers produce a ranking among the KMT candidates that strikes me as entirely reasonable.

Anyway, one thing that this poll does tell me is that we can probably rule out the dark horse candidates, like Lai Fengwei and Su Yinggui.  If you haven’t ever proven an ability to get votes before, this isn’t the place for you.  The likely finalists are the legislators (as usual): Huang Zhaoshun, and perhaps Qiu Yi in Kaohsiung City, and Lin Yishi and Zhong Shaohe in Kaohsiung County.

[1] I once got a free sandwich from Subway.  The only catch was that I had to complete their interview afterwards.  First, how about the bread? On a scale of one to five, how was your overall satisfaction with the bread?  On a scale of one to five, how was your satisfaction with the taste of the bread? On a scale of one to five, how was your satisfaction with the texture of the bread? On a scale of one to five, how was your satisfaction with the freshness of the bread? On a scale of one to five, how was your satisfaction with the quantity of the bread?  Second, how about the meat?  How was your overall satisfaction with the meat?  How was your satisfaction with the taste of the meat? How was your satisfaction with the texture of the meat? How was your satisfaction with the freshness of the meat? How was your satisfaction with the quantity of the meat? Third, how about the vegetables? …  Fourth, how about the condiments? … Fifth, how about the cheese? …  Sixth, how about the overall sandwich? …  I think I started answering “3” to everything about four or five questions in.