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Su-feng Cheng, Associate Research Fellow, Election Study Center, National Chengchi University.
Ethnicity, Identity, and Vote Choice in Taiwan (in Chinese) Download
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Ethnic and identity problems are important issues in modern Taiwanese politics. This paper examines Taiwanese identity from the aspect of ethnic and identity theory. The author develops a ”Taiwanese consciousness” index to explore the effect of identity in the past four presidential elections. The results show that Taiwanese consciousness has increased year by year, with more than half (54.7%) of Taiwan voters now classified into the high level of Taiwanese consciousness. The data also show that people with different degrees of Taiwanese consciousness vote differently and are increasingly polarized around identity. People with high-level Taiwanese consciousness tend to vote for pan-green candidates, while people with lowlevel Taiwanese consciousness tend to vote for pan-blue candidates. The data also indicate that the support bases of different parties are quite different. Votes for pan-green candidates mostly come from people with high-level Taiwanese consciousness, and this fraction has steadily increased; at the same time, support for pan-blue candidates has fallen significantly among this group. The analysis shows that partisan identification performs better than the ”Taiwanese consciousness” index at predicting vote choice, but the ”Taiwanese consciousness” index still has additional explanatory power. This paper also finds that the effect of ”sengi” (voters' provincial background) is not significant in the four presidential elections after controlling for other variables. This result suggests that the identity issue in Taiwan is now more an expression of ideological differences than ethnic ones.