By Chen Wei-han / Staff reporter
President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） would face considerable difficulty were she to seek re-election, while Premier William Lai （賴清德） has emerged as the Democratic Progressive Party’s （DPP） strongest candidate for the 2020 presidential election, a pan-green think tank said yesterday.
Ahead of the second anniversary of Tsai’s election on Tuesday next week, Taiwan Brain Trust released a survey gauging voters’ views on the 2020 election, which found that Lai outperformed Tsai by a large margin.
The think tank is funded by former presidential adviser Koo Kwang-ming （辜寬敏）, a pro-Taiwan independence heavyweight who is seen as discriminating against female leaders after he said in 2006 that “those wearing dresses are unfit to be president.”
While 32.4 percent of respondents believed that Tsai would be re-elected in 2020, 43.9 percent said she would not, while 30.7 percent said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, with 51.1 percent unsatisfied, the foundation said.
National Dong Hwa University professor Shih Cheng-feng （施正鋒） said Tsai’s ratio of approval to disapproval has come down to the DPP’s basic support base, suggesting that the president’s popularity has waned and she has lost the support of neutral voters.
Meanwhile, 44 percent said they were satisfied with Lai’s performance, compared with 35.1 percent who were unsatisfied.
Asked whether they would prefer Tsai or Lai as the next president, 42.3 percent supported Lai and only 24.4 percent supported Tsai.
When pitted against possible Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） candidates, Tsai’s support rating of 45.4 percent compared well with KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih’s （吳敦義） 29.6 percent.
However, Tsai’s support rating fell to 38.2 percent if she were to run against New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu （朱立倫）, who would win the presidency with a support rating of 43.9 percent, the poll showed.
In a survey by the foundation in July last year, Tsai was more popular than Chu, with a 41.2 percent support rating, compared with 38.2 percent for Chu, and the rise in Chu’s support rate suggests a KMT comeback, the foundation said.
If the DPP were to nominate Lai as its presidential candidate, he would have a 57.7 percent support rating, while Wu’s would fall to 22.1 percent, and he would enjoy 47.9 percent support against Chu, who would be supported by 35 percent.
If pitted against Hon Hai Precision Industry Co （鴻海） chairman Terry Gou （郭台銘）, who it was assumed would run as an independent candidate with the KMT forfeiting the election to make way for him, Tsai would receive 40.2 percent support against 44.6 percent for Gou, while Lai would enjoy 50.5 percent support and Gou 38.4 percent.
In a hypothetical three-legged race involving Tsai, Wu and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je （柯文哲）, Ko would win the presidency with a support rating of 35.3 percent against 31.6 percent for Tsai and 17.8 percent for Wu, the poll showed.
The election would become a close race if the candidates were Ko, Tsai and Chu, as their support rating among respondents in such a scenario stood at 30 percent, 29 percent and 29.8 percent respectively, the foundation said.
If the DPP were to nominate Lai against Ko and a KMT candidate, Lai would win by a comfortable margin, as 44.6 percent of respondents said they would support Lai, compared with 26.6 percent for Ko and 16.1 percent for Wu; while Lai would have the support of 40.7 percent against Chu, who would have 27.8 percent of the vote, while Ko would get 22 percent.
The survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday and collected 1,074 valid samples.
It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3 percentage points.