《TAIPEI TIMES》 Trailing in polls, Han confident about winning
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu, center, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Yunlin County yesterday. Photo: Hsu Li-chuan, Taipei Times
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
The campaign office of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜）, the Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） presidential candidate, yesterday said that it is confident about winning next month’s presidential election, despite Han trailing by nearly 38 percentage points in the latest poll.
Commenting on a poll released yesterday by the Chinese-language Liberty Times （the sister paper of the Taipei Times）, which shows Han behind President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） by 37.65 percentage points, campaign office spokeswoman Anne Wang （王淺秋） said that polls are “highly manipulatable” and might be inaccurate.
The suvey, which interviewed 1,078 voters from Monday to Wednesday by landline telephone and cellphone, found that 53.12 percent of respondents support Tsai in the Jan. 11 presidential election, while 15.47 percent support Han and 4.66 percent back People First Party presidential candidate James Soong （宋楚瑜）.
The campaign office had expected the margin to widen after Han last month instructed his supporters to claim to support Tsai in polls, Wang told a news conference in Taipei, adding: “We had expected the margin to be greater.”
Han’s campaign office is confident about winning the election, as internal assessments made by the KMT last month before Han gave the directive found that the margin between Han’s and Tsai’s support rates was not big, she said.
Asked how the KMT assessed Han’s support rate without polls, Wang said that the party has been conducting surveys on Han’s policy plans and evaluating his popularity through his interaction with local people during his campaign tour.
Based on his interaction with voters, it is apparent that Han has many “hidden” supporters, she said.
Moreover, since a high number of voters have yet to make up their mind about the presidential election, the office would seek to win their support by continuing to explain Han’s policy plans and critically examining Tsai’s policy results, she said.
Separately, Lee Chia-fen （李佳芬）, Han’s wife and former Yunlin County councilor, yesterday told the New York-based Chinese-language World Journal that using the latest poll numbers to gauge support for Tsai is a “joke.”
Considering the extent to which Taiwan’s economy has deteriorated under Tsai, “if you think she would receive more votes this time, you must think people are stupid,” Lee said.
Noting that a certain poll predicted that Tsai would win the race by 30 percent, that would mean a margin of 4.5 million votes, Lee said.
“If you look at the statistics and think about it, you would find it laughable,” she added.
As a result, Han’s campaign office thought it might as well urge supporters to claim to support Tsai just to make the Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） happy, Lee said.
Asked about Lee’s remarks, Tsai said that although Han’s camp claims not to believe in polls, it often cites them.
While polls show the DPP leading, she and her campaign team would continue to work hard to secure the public’s support, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA