A-gu found this wonderful UDN poll showing that Ma Ying-jeou is going to eat Hsieh alive. UDN (United Daily News) is a pro-KMT paper. Polls in the pro-KMT papers are notoriously inaccurate, as pro-Greens either lie or don’t reveal their choices when faced with Blue pollsters. Nevertheless, note two things. If this is within a few percentage points on Ma, then Hsieh is probably leading Ma once all the Green votes come in. A recent New Taiwan poll A-gu pointed me to had Hsieh up on Ma 53-47 or so. Anything could happen, though.

In 1998 Hsieh ran against Wu Den-yih for mayor of Kaohsiung in what was a very typical Taiwan campaign, featuring a close result, unmitigated viciousness, and an incompetent and divided Blue team supporting an indifferent campaigner who had accomplished little in office. Wu at first announced he was not going to run, then he was shoved into the post by Party elites, and rivals for the candidacy contested the nomination process (sound familiar?). Later Wu would concede that his campaign was hasty and ill-organized, and the KMT, confident it had Kaohsiung locked up, transferred resources to what it perceived as the more difficult election, Ma Ying-jeou’s campaign against the popular Chen Shui-bian in Taipei. Wu was also hurt by the (probably true) perception that he had done little for the city (academic article on the 1998 elections).

Wu attacked Hsieh for belonging to a religious cult whose leader was a transparent fraud, and hacked on him for acting as the lawyer of the accused killer of the daughter of popular entertainer Pai Bing-bing in what was probably the most important single murder case of the 1990s, comparable in social impact to the OJ Simpson case in the US. Wu’s campaign distributed 80,000 copies of a video by the entertainer in the Kaohsiung area. Wu himself later denied having anything to do with the effort. But it apparently backfired.

Despite failing the first time around, those accusations will undoubtedly be dredged up again, along with the Thai Worker Riot Scandal and the Kaohsiung MRT scandals (the real scandal was that nobody did anything for the foreign laborers). However, one good thing the obsessive focus on Chen Shui-bian that the last few years have seen did for the DPP was take everyone else out of the spotlight. Everyone was suprised when Hsieh did strongly in Taipei in the recent mayoral election there. Consider that the KMT (and probably its Chinese allies as well) spent a fortune on the Shih Ming-teh anti-Chen campaign, only to have the campaign reflect negatively on then Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, not have much effect on the mayoral elections, and expend resources attacking a politician who can’t run for the Presidency again. Meanwhile the other DPP politicians have prospered as everyone bitches about Chen…..