On 6 June 2005, the National Assembly in Taiwan ratified the constitutional amendment to cut the number of legislative seats from 225 to 113, to extend legislators' terms of office from three years to four, and most importantly, to adopt a new mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) electoral system to replace the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system for legislative elections. The election of the 7th Legislative Yuan on 12 January 2008, was the first instance of this new mixed electoral system being practiced in Taiwan. Several scholars and political pundits have examined the impacts of adopting the mixed-member majoritarian system. However, almost all assume voters were fully aware of the new two-ballot electoral system and made their choices accordingly. The purpose of this paper is to question this assumption by exploring the vicissitude of voters' knowledge of the new electoral rules and their determinants. This paper argues that most voters are ignorant of, and oblivious to, the changes in the electoral system. That is, voters' awareness of the electoral system is a function of legislative electoral cycle as well as the efforts of political parties and candidates' campaigns to maneuver the electorate and take advantage of the new rule. If this notion is correct, the cycle of voters' knowledge can be expected to move in tandem with the electoral cycle. That is, voters become more and more aware of the new electoral rules before the legislative election and then tend to forget about it during the mid-term period. The awareness picks up again a few months before the next legislative election is scheduled. We test this political cycle hypothesis by comparing the results from the five waves of pre-election rolling surveys during the late 2007 and two waves of post-election surveys conducted in early 2010 and early 2011. We find that voters' knowledge of the new electoral system, including term of office, district magnitude, ballot structure and PR (Proportional Representation) threshold, indeed rose gradually during the campaigning period before the 2008 legislative election. Then, with the exception of the office term, voters' knowledge of all the other three elements of the new electoral rules declined substantially after election.
This paper regards Taiwan's 2009 local (i.e., county magistrate) election as a kind of midterm election and explains why the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) got defeated by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from two theoretical perspectives-namely, the “lack of mobilization” theory and the “swing voter” theory. By using both aggregate-level voting records and individual-level survey data, our empirical findings are three-fold: first, in general, the DPP successfully mobilized their supporters to get out to voting in the 2009 local election while the KMT failed to do so. Second, previous KMT supporters in the 2008 presidential election were somehow reluctant to continuously support KMT candidates in the 2009 local election. Specifically, in the KMT advantageous county, such as Taoyuan County, previous KMT supporters were less likely to turn out to vote than those previous DPP supporters. On the other hand, in the DPP advantageous county, such as Yunlin County, a significant proportion of previous KMT supporters actually turned out to vote for the DPP incumbent candidate. Third, The conventional wisdom suggests that the performance of the ruling party usually becomes an important factor that affects voting behavior in midterm elections. Our analysis partially confirms such “referendum voting model” in the sense that some Taiwanese voters, particularly those who voted for the ruling party in the previous national election, may took into account the performance of the central government when casting their votes in the next election, even if it was just a local-level election.
Using two Japanese survey datasets sharing the same variables that were collected at about the same time during the election of the House of Councillors in 2007, we investigated the effectiveness of propensity score adjustment to internet survey data of voting behavior. One dataset was from an internet survey based on purposive sampling, and the other was from an in-person interview survey based on probabilistic random sampling. Setting party identification and actual votes as dependent variables, the covariates for calculating the propensity scores were selected on the basis of the Strongly Ignorable Treatment Assignment (SITA) condition. The results indicated that while the adjustments were effective in some cases (e.g. the votes for proportional representation seats), those for other variables were ineffective and the divergence from the probability sampling survey became even larger. Conditions in which propensity scores can effectively adjust internet survey data are discussed.