Taiwan opposition candidate's gap with rival further widens
Taiwan opposition party KMT's presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou is expected to win a landslide victory in the March 22 presidential election, according to a survey carried out by a television channel released Saturday. ( dpa )
The poll by the cable TV channel TVBS showed that the gap between Ma and his rival - Frank Hsieh of the ruling party DPP - has further widened, with Ma leading Hsieh by 36 percentage points.
Of the 1,112 people polled, 54 per cent back Ma, 28 per cent support Hsieh while 18 per cent are undecided.
Among those undecided, 12 per cent said they are inclined to vote for Ma and only six per cent said they are likely to vote for Hsieh.
On September 19, 2007, six months before the presidential election, a TVBS poll showed that 53 per cent supported Ma and 30 per cent backed Hsieh.
"Based on our poll made just 15 days before the March 22 election, we assume that Ma will sweep 60 per cent votes while Hsieh will get 40 per cent votes," TVBS said in its evening newscast.
The gap between Ma and Hsieh has been widening since the election campaign began last year.
Polls in recent months by various newspapers have shown that Ma leads Hsieh by 10-40 percentage points, but President Chen Shui- bian's DPP party said the polls are incorrect and Hsieh lags Ma by only 5-6 percentage points.
Chen will step down in May after having served two four-year terms, as Taiwan president can only serve two terms.
Ma, whose KMT has toned down its pro-unification stance to seeing peace with China, has promised to sign a peace pact with China and open sea and air links with China as soon as he has won the presidency.
Hsieh, however, sticks to the DPP's hard line against China, claiming Taiwan must safeguard its sovereignty first and should cautiously open links with China.