Posts Tagged ‘Su Huanzhi’


June 22, 2010

Lots of rumors are swirling around these days.  They are fun and frustrating at the same time.  I take them with a grain of salt, ready to disown them if they turn out to have no substance and equally ready to say “I already knew that” when they turn out to be correct.

So apparently former President Chen 陳水扁 announced that he will be running for the legislature.  Assuming that Lai Qingde 賴清德 wins the Tainan mayor election, Lai’s seat will become vacant and a by-election will be necessary.  Chen supposedly told someone that he would run for the seat.  Until his appeals are exhausted, Chen is legally not prohibited from running, and the seat is in Tainan, his home base.  On the other hand, no one has confirmed that Chen actually said or meant such a thing.  Also, my early handicapping is that Chen probably wouldn’t win.  The KMT is not that weak in this seat.  Lai won it by running ahead of the party list vote.  Former PFP legislator Gao Sibo 高思博 is primed to make another run at the seat.  Also, while Chen might get some sympathy votes from diehards, he would probably lose the swing voters who are disgusted with him.  This is the best case scenario, assuming that he either gets the DPP nomination or the DPP stands aside for him.  If he has to run against both a KMT and DPP candidate, forget it.  All in all, if Chen does choose to run, it will not end well for him.

The DPP is having major problems in Tainan, where both of the losers in the primary race are reportedly plotting to run in the general election.  Both Xu Tiancai 許添財 and Su Huanzhi 蘇煥智 have set of support organizations, a classic step one takes before running in an election.  (Perhaps the fact that they are only doing this now says something about why they lost the primary.)  Also, the TSU is reportedly interesting in offering one of them its nomination.  The TSU vehemently denies this and has accused the KMT of spreading vicious rumors.  I don’t know what to make of this except to note that Xu Tiancai has twice (1995, 1997) run against DPP nominees, so he has a track record.

Finally, mysterious polls say that the races in the north are tightening up.  Cai Yingwen 蔡英文 is only losing by five points, and Su Zhenchang 蘇貞昌 has actually overtaken Hao Longbin 郝龍斌, though none of the leads are statistically significant.  These results are being widely reported by the media so the polls must exist somewhere, but the interesting thing is that I cannot find either who did the polls or what the exact numbers are.  One story referred to KMT internal polls, but others mention “media” polls.  Until I see a source, I will take this with a grain of salt.

So we are to believe that the DPP is falling apart in Tainan, while the KMT’s lead is evaporating in the north.  If you combine this with recent events in Taichung, it seems that Kaohsiung City is the only race that is still going according to script.  …if you believe everything you hear, that is.

Update:  Sorry about that Kaohsiung thing.  I should have known better.  Yang Qiuxing 楊秋興 (loser of DPP primary) is now threatening to run as an independent in the general election.  So throw out the script altogether.

Redistricting in Tainan

May 25, 2010

After looking at the Taichung and Kaohsiung redistricting plans, today I want to look at the plan for Tainan.  Tainan is gaining a seat.  Previously it had three in the county and two in the city.  All five of these were very “heavy” seats (average population: 372725).  When the city and county are combined the two remainders naturally combine to give Greater Tainan one more seat.  Now each of Tainan’s six seats will have an average of only 311605 people.  As in Kaohsiung, the changing number of seats basically requires that at least one of the new seats must cross the county/city boundaries.  So here are the old system and the CEC’s proposal:

Old System

# areas areas pop
1 新營、鹽水、白河、柳營、後壁、東山、下營、六甲、官田、學甲、將軍、北門 Xinying, Yanshui, Baihe, Liuying, Houbi, Dongshan, Xiaying, Liujia, Guantian, Xuejia, Jiangjun 349547
2 麻豆、大內、佳里、西港、七股、新化、善化、新市、安定、山上、玉井、楠西、南化、左鎮 Madou, Danei, Jiali, Xigang, Qigu, Xinhua, Shanhua, Xinshi, Anding, Shanshang, Yujing, Nanxi, Nanhua, Zuozhen 369284
3 永康、仁德、歸仁、關廟、龍崎 Yongkang, Rende, Guiren, Guanmiao, Longqi 383037
4 中西、北區、安南 Central-West, North, Annan 382425
5 東區、南區、安平 East, South, Anping 379333

CEC proposal

# areas areas pop
1 後壁、白河、北門、學甲、鹽水、新營、柳營、東山、將軍、六甲 Houbi, Baihe, Beimen, Xuejia, Yanshui, Xinying, Liuying, Dongshan, Jiangjun, Liujia 295946
2 下營、官田、七股、佳里、麻豆、大內、玉井、楠西、西港、山上、新化、左鎮、南化 Xiaying, Guantian, Qigu, Jiali, Madou, Danei, Yujing, Nanxi, Xigang, Shanshang, Xinshi, Zuozhen, Nanhua 308677
3 善化、安定、新市、永康 Shanhua, Anding, Xinshi, Yongkang 321121
4 安南、北區 Annan, North 307382
5 中西、安平、東區 Central-West, Anping, East 335159
6 南區、仁德、歸仁、關廟、龍崎 South, Rende, Guiren, Guanmiao, Longqi 301342

But, hey, none of us really cares too much about those tables; we care about the political effects of them.  So let’s look at the partisan balance of the old and new districts, using the 2008 party list vote for each camp as our indicator.

# blue green incumbent incumbent party
1 39.8 55.9 葉宜津 Ye Yijin DPP
2 39.4 56.3 黃偉哲 Huang Weizhe DPP
3 45.1 51.2 李俊毅 Li Junyi DPP
4 44.6 52.0 陳婷妃 Chen Tingfei DPP
5 48.7 47.9 賴清德 Lai Qingde DPP

CEC proposal

# blue green notes
1 40.3 55.4 old #1 minus Xiaying, Guantian
2 39.4 56.3 old #2 plus Xiaying, Guantian; minus Shanhua, Anding, Xinshi
3 44.7 51.7 new district
4 44.6 51.9 old #4 minus Central-West
5 50.2 46.4 old #5 minus South plus Central-West
6 42.3 54.1 old #3 minus Yongkang plus South

The most striking thing is that the new plan makes it possible for the KMT to win a seat.  Currently, the DPP holds all five seats, but the new plan creates a seat (District 5) in which the blue camp got nearly 4% more than the green camp in 2008.  (Remember the caveat: 2008 was a terrible year for the green camp, so you must adjust everything down for the KMT and up for the DPP.)  We’ll come back to District 5 later.

District 1 has only minor changes.  It remains a DPP stronghold.

District 2 has more changes with several townships leaving the district and others coming in, but the net partisan impact is minimal.  Incumbent Huang Weizhe’s hometown, Madou, is still in the district, so Huang will continue to enjoy the DPP’s best district in the entire country.

Most of the new District 3 is from the old #3 (Yongkang) plus a few townships from the old #2 to fill out the population.  I am calling this a new district because the incumbent, Li Junyi, in the old #3 is almost sure to compete in the new District 6.  Without Li, a six-term incumbent, this district could be competitive.  However, it should still favor the DPP.  The two parties are basically even in Yongkang, but the smaller surrounding townships tilt the balance.

The new District 4 is roughly the old #4, minus the Central-West district.  The partisan balance is basically unchanged.  In the last election, Chen Tingfei barely won, even though the district clearly leans to the DPP.  She has been a fairly high-profile legislator these two years, and I expect her to have an easier go of it in her re-election bid.

The new District 5 is going to be the controversial one.  According to the 2008 party list votes, the KMT should have had a slight edge in the old district.  However, it was won by Lai Qingde, who barely edged Gao Sibo (Zhu Lilun’s brother-in-law).  In the old district, there were three areas.  The East has the biggest population and is the only administrative district in Tainan City that clearly leans to the KMT.  This was balanced by the South, which is smaller, but leans Green heavily enough to cancel out the KMT’s margin from the East.  Anping is roughly even.  In the redistricting plan, the CEC removed the South and replaced it with the Central-West.  The Central-West is only about 2/3 the size of the South and it is not quite as heavily Green.  The result is a district dominated by the Blue-leaning East.  Somehow, a seat has appeared in Tainan that the KMT could very easily win.  Moreover, the DPP will almost certainly not have an incumbent to defend this seat, since Lai will likely be mayor by the end of the year.

The new district 6 is carved out of the more rural areas of the old #3.  Li Junyi will stay with his bailiwick, which is centered on his hometown of Guiren.  He will probably be happy to bid adieu to Yongkang, since he has never gotten many votes there anyway.  This district will remain a safe DPP district.

I have two other questions that I want to address.  First, county executive Su Huanzhi sparked my interest in this whole redistricting question last week when he attacked the CEC plan and offered his own alternative.  I assumed it must have something to do with gerrymandering.  My suspicions were heightened when I saw the partisan balance of the new District 5.  Certainly Su and the rest of the DPP would not stand for that.  Imagine my surprise to find that Su’s plan had nothing to do with District 5.  In fact, it merely rearranges Districts 2 and 3.  Roughly, it replaces the small townships (Shanhua, Xinshi, Anding) to the north of Yongkang with a different set of small townships (Xinhua, Danei, Shanshang, Yujing, Nanxi, Nanhua, Zuozhen) to the west. Both of these groups have just over 100000 people.  Su’s argument is that the townships to the west have historical, commercial, and other ties to Yongkang, not to the rest of District 2.  The townships to the north have ties with both and could go either way.

Great, but what would the political effect of such a move be?  In the CEC’s plan, the DPP has a 17 point advantage in District 2 and a 7 point advantage in District 3.  In Su’s plan, the DPP advantage in District 2 swells to a whopping 25 points.  In District 3 however, the KMT has a 1 point advantage.  In other words, the DPP county executive’s plan is a masterful gerrymander, packing the DPP supporters into District 2 so that the KMT has a chance in District 3.  In related news, Su Huanzhi is an idiot.  (I think I’ll stop here, while I’m still being polite.)

The second question is whether District 5 is contrived or necessary.  That is, did the CEC move mountains to create a good district for the KMT, or is this just the most obvious way to divide up Tainan?  I tried to create an alternate plan that followed three conditions: (1) the districts had relatively even population, (2) no administrative lines were crossed, and (3) historically tied clumps of townships in Tainan County (ie: the two clumps discussed in Su’s plan plus the clump of four townships in the new District 6) were not divided.  After about an hour of arranging and rearranging, I gave up.  The CEC plan was the only reasonable plan I could come up with.

Does that mean it is the best? Of course not!  A glance at the map suggest that the East district is a better combination than the South with the Guiren-Rende-Guanmiao-Longqi clump, but the East is simply too big.  However, if you are willing to cross administrative lines – and these don’t matter nearly as much in an urban setting as in a rural setting – then you could shift the South back to District 5 and even out the population by putting part of the East in District 5 and part in District 6.  There is a good argument that this arrangement is more natural, judging by transportation arteries.  Politically, it would almost certainly create two safe districts for the DPP.

I expect we have not heard the last of how to deal with the East and South districts.

UDN county executive poll

May 18, 2010

Yesterday the United Daily News published a massive poll (466<n<749 for each county) in which it assessed satisfaction with the performance of Taiwan’s local county executives.   Most of us have no hard data to determine which local executives have done a good job, so we go on much less obvious and much less reliable cues, such as what the taxi drivers tell us, the tone of media reports, your friend’s uncle’s story, and so on.  The UDN is a hard piece of data.  It is an aggregation of a lot of people’s feelings, rather than a single person’s feelings.  As such, this is the type of poll that gets cited in election campaigns, either to crow about one’s fantastic performance or to attack the incumbent for a dismal job.

The media (and lots of media outlets are commenting on this poll, not just the UDN) focus has been on two things.  First, the headline was the individual winners (Chen Ju) and losers (Huang Zhongsheng).  Second, the DPP executives did better as a group than the KMT executives.

Methodologically, I have a small question.  Today, the UDN published another question from this same poll on whether residents in the various cities and counties think their locality is a suitable place to live or not.  The Greater Taipei area graded out much lower than anywhere else.  I wonder which of these questions they asked first.  That is, which question polluted the other one?  It is probably no coincidence that Hao Longbin, Zhou Xiwei, and Zhang Tongrong all got fairly low marks and also that Taipei City, Taipei County, and Jilong City were all deemed relatively unlivable.

Here are the results of the poll:

county name name status party satisfied dis-satisfied
…………………………… ………………..…… …………. …………….…. ……… ……….. ……………
Kaohsiung City Chen Ju 陳菊 direct DPP 75 10
Miaoli County Liu Zhenghong 劉政鴻 re-elected KMT 73 7
Kaohsiung County Yang Qiuxing 楊秋興 direct DPP 72 7
Chiayi City Huang Minhui 黃敏惠 Re-elected KMT 67 13
Changhua County Zhuo Boyuan 卓伯元 Re-elected KMT 64 8
Taichung City Jason Hu 胡志強 direct KMT 63 20
Tainan City Xu Tiancai 許添財 direct DPP 62 16
Pingdong County Cai Qihong 曹啟鴻 Re-elected DPP 61 10
Hualian County Fu Kunqi 傅崑萁 new IND 61 8
Yunlin County Su Zhifen 蘇治芬 Re-elected DPP 61 10
Penghu County Wang Qianfa 王乾發 Re-elected KMT 53 21
Jinmen County Li Wotu 李沃土 new KMT 53 7
Taidong County Huang Jianting 黃健庭 new KMT 52 11
Jilong City Zhang Tongrong 張通榮 Re-elected KMT 51 21
Tainan County Su Huanzhi 蘇煥智 direct DPP 51 21
Taipei City Hao Longbin 郝龍斌 direct KMT 50 28
Nantou County Li Chaoqing 李朝卿 Re-elected KMT 50 18
Lianjiang County Yang Suisheng 楊綏生 new KMT 50 23
Chiayi County Zhang Huaguan 張花冠 new DPP 49 6
Ilan County Lin Congxian 林聰賢 new DPP 46 6
Taipei County Zhou Xiwei 周錫瑋 direct KMT 44 27
Taoyuan County Wu Zhiyang 吳志揚 new KMT 44 8
Hsinchu City Xu Mingcai 許明財 new KMT 42 10
Hsinchu County Qiu Jingchun 邱鏡淳 new KMT 38 20
Taichung County Huang Zhongsheng 黃仲生 direct KMT 37 25

UDN classified executives into three different statuses.  Newly elected executives were elected last November, so they have only been in office for about six months.  They typically have low satisfaction but also low dissatisfaction ratings, as voters are still forming opinions about their performance in office.  There are two exceptions.  Both Yang Suisheng in Lianjiang County and Qiu Jingchun in Hsinchu County have high dissatisfaction ratings.  The KMT blew a by-election in Hsinchu a couple of months ago, and KMT supporters might still be mad at Qiu for that there.  In Lianjiang, I have no clue what is going on, but Lianjiang only has a few thousand residents, so they probably all know through the gossip networks if Yang has done anything bad.

The second group of executives includes those who were re-elected last November, while the third group includes executives from counties and cities that already are or will become direct municipalities later this year.  Most of these executives have been in office for 4.5 years (four have been in for 8.5 years), so opinions have already had time to form on them.

Note the discrepancies in satisfaction ratings by party.  Among the direct municipalities, DPP members Chen Ju and Yang Qiuxing were the best.  Jason Hu and Xu Tiancai had roughly equivalent ratings, but the KMT eagerly nominated Hu for another term while the DPP dumped Xu in favor of a better candidate.  Likewise, Hao Longbin is roughly in the same ballpark as Su Huanzhi, but the former will be running as a KMT candidate while the latter could not make it as a DPP candidate.  Bringing up the rear are the two miserable KMT executives, Zhou Xiwei and Huang Zhongsheng.  Of course, there is more to performance than satisfaction ratings, but this certainly doesn’t make the KMT look good.