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Niou and Paolino: The rise of the opposition party in Taiwan

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Niou and Paolino. 2003. The rise of the opposition party in Taiwan: Explaining Chen Shiui-bian's victory in the 2000 presid. Electoral Studies 22.

Puzzle

In 2000, the KMT candidate (Lien) lost with only 23.1%. An independent (Soong) took 36.8, and the opposition (DPP) candidate (Chen) won with 39.3%. Why did the KMT lose (for the first time) in 2000? There were a few popular explanations that the authors want to test:

  1. Chen was the Condorcet loser. He won only because Soong's and Lien's supporters failed to coordinate.
  2. It's illegal to report polls for the 10 days prior to voting. During this time, the KMT misled people to believe that Lien was actually the frontrunner (he wasn't), leading KMT supporters not to feel that it was necessary to rally around Soong (#2) to defeat Chen (winner).

Findings (survey data)

Uses survey data collected during the non-polling period. (It's legal to collect data, just not to report it during this period.)

  1. Chen may have been the Condorcet loser, so his election may have been party due to non-coordination.
    • Coordination is more difficult when there isn't polling data.
  2. But they cannot reject the argument that Chen would have won even with perfect information.
    • The Lien-Soong rivalry may have prevented coordination anyway.
    • Even during the non-polling period, Chen, Soong, and Lien were in a statistical tiie (33.8 to 32.3 to 28.7, respectively), so coordination may still have failed without a clear frontrunner.

Still, the authors wouldn't be surprised if there were soon calls to lift the ban on polls.