Taipei, More than four in 10 Taiwanese identify themselves as independent voters, a sign of erosion in party loyalties and "partisan dealignment," according to a recent survey by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation.
When asked which major political party, either the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the Kuomintang (KMT), they identify with, 29.5 percent of respondents chose the DPP, and 23.2 percent chose the KMT.
Some 43.7 percent of respondents said they did not identify with either of the major parties and described themselves as nonpartisan voters, one of the highest percentages seen in similar surveys over the past two years.
In June 2016, one month after the DPP came to power, the percentage of respondents who identified with the DPP stood at 51.6 percent, the highest level of support for the party in the survey's history, which started in May 2016.
The DPP's popularity has declined steadily ever since, with a low of 26.2 percent registered in April this year, a trend chart provided with the survey's results showed.
The percentage of respondents identifying with the KMT rose to 23.8 percent in August 2016 from a low of 16.6 percent in May 2016. But the party has only exceeded 25 percent support twice since then, when it reached 25.1 percent in December 2016 and 25.2 percent in October 2017, according to the chart.
Since June 2016, the percentage of respondents who do not identify with either major party has risen steadily, peaking at 46.6 percent in April this year.
The survey results show that the phenomenon of "partisan dealignment" is emerging in Taiwan, said You Ying-lung (???), the chairman of the polling institute.
You said the process has increased the potential for "political novices" such as Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and former New Taipei Deputy Mayor Hou Yu-ih (???), who is the KMT's nominee for the New Taipei mayoral race in November.
When respondents were asked about party affiliation when two small parties were added, 23.1 percent favored the DPP, 23 percent chose the KMT, 8.3 percent supported the New Power Party, 4.1 percent went for the People First Party, and 34.9 percent said they were nonpartisan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel