《TAIPEI TIMES》 NPP poll says 56％ want Han out
New Power Party Chairman Hsu Yung-ming speaks at a news conference at the legislature in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
TRAVEL FACTOR: The party’s chairman said that the key to a successful recall of the Kaohsiung mayor was turnout among young voters from outside the city
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
More than 55 percent of Kaohsiung residents said that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜） should be recalled, the New Power Party （NPP） said yesterday, citing a poll.
The COVID-19 situation and turnout among young people would be two key factors determining whether Han is removed from office, the NPP said.
The telephone survey showed that 59.5 percent of respondents said they would vote in the recall election, down 6.1 percentage points from the results of a similar poll last month.
Those who said that Han should be recalled rose 4.3 percentage points to 56.4 percent, while 28.9 percent said they disagreed with the recall attempt, down 6.3 percentage points, the survey showed.
Han’s apology for requesting a leave of absence from the city government to contest January’s presidential election had little effect, with 57.4 percent of respondents saying that he should still be recalled, the NPP said.
However, the proportion of people who said that Han should not be recalled rose to 31.8 percent, the survey showed.
In a breakdown by age group, 79.6 percent of 20-to-29-year-olds said they backed a recall despite Han’s apology, up 8.2 percentage points from last month, while 27.8 percent in the 30-to-39 group said they would not vote to recall Han, up 7.7 percentage points.
Despite Han’s call for supporters to skip the election, 58.4 percent of the survey’s respondents said they would vote.
The survey analyzed voting inclinations among people who supported President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） and those who backed Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） candidate, in the presidential election.
While 89.8 percent of Tsai’s supporters said that Han should be recalled, 75.8 percent of Han backers disagreed.
This means that about one-quarter of Han’s voters have ditched him, the NPP said.
The results do not mean that Han will be recalled, the NPP said.
Voter turnout would slide to 55.5 percent should the pandemic situation deteriorate and voters aged 20 to 39 are the most likely to vote yes, but it remains to be seen how many of them turn out, it said.
“The recall bid has a higher chance of success if turnout is higher than 40 percent,” NPP Chairman Hsu Yung-ming （徐永明） said. “The success rate would greatly diminish if the turnout rate is below 30 percent.”
“The key is whether young people return to Kaohsiung to vote,” Hsu said, adding that 66 percent of respondents in the survey said they did not know the locations of polling stations.
The average score respondents gave for Han’s performance as mayor was 4.1 out of 10, with about 30 percent giving him a zero, the survey showed.
Forty-six percent questioned the neutrality of the Kaohsiung City Government in the run-up to the recall election, it showed.
Asked whether KMT support for the democratic uprising in Hong Kong would help Han, NPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Jie （黃捷） said that the KMT’s position would not save the mayor.
“Han has been avoiding a definite response on this issue. So far, he has only proposed to have a ‘Hong Kong village’ in Kaohsiung help people arriving from the territory,” Huang said. “What people look at is his performance as mayor. If he really sympathizes with Hong Kongers and wants to support them, he should explicitly express what he stands for.”
The survey was conducted on Tuesday last week, 12 days before the recall election on Saturday next week.
It canvassed opinions among people in 38 administrative districts in Kaohsiung and collected 830 samples, the NPP said, adding that it has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.