Partisan Polarization and Fragmentation in the Taiwanese Electorate: Evidence from the 2020 Elections

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Clark C
Tan A
Ho K

Taiwan is generally viewed as having a polarized polity with national identity being the defining issue. Yet, there are several trends that are at least somewhat inconsistent with this image. First, partisan loyalties have jumped around rapidly over the last few years: from a dramatic victory by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2016 presidential and legislative elections to a surprising KMT win in the 2018 local elections to a repeat of the DPP’s 2016 triumph in the 2020 presidential election led by the party’s “dream team” of Tsai Ing-wen and William Lai. Second and similarly, there has been rapid shift in how cross-Strait relations have been related to partisanship. Up until 2016, this issue generally helped the Kuomintang (KMT); in 2016, it favored the DPP; in 2018, it probably helped the KMT; and in 2020, it appears to be a central factor in the most recent DPP victory. Third, protest parties have become more important in Taiwan politics, suggesting a fragmenting of the electorate. This paper will explore the implications of the 2020 elections for the fragmentation and polarization Taiwan politics. The analysis will focus upon the results of the presidential and legislative elections, the impact of the national identity issue on voting, and the success of minor parties in the elections. The first section discusses the evolution Of Taiwanese politics before 2020; and the second presents our analysis of the polarization and fragmentation of the country’s party system.

Clark C, Tan A, Ho K (2020). Partisan Polarization and Fragmentation in the Taiwanese Electorate: Evidence from the 2020 Elections. San Francisco, California: 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. 09/09/2020-13/09/2020.
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Fields of Research::44 - Human society::4408 - Political science::440807 - Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
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