Title

The Myth of Polarization Among Taiwanese Voters: The Missing Middle

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-29-2019

Publication Title

Journal of East Asian Studies

Volume

19

Issue

3

First page number:

275

Last page number:

287

Abstract

Are Taiwanese voters polarized? By presenting four novel visualizations based on a factor analysis of Taiwan National Security Surveys from 2002 to 2017, this article describes the contours of structural change in Taiwan politics. Overall, the cross-strait position among Taiwanese voters can be described by a stable inverted U shape over time. This arises from the fact that most nonpartisans—typically neglected in the literature on polarization—are moderate. Before 2008, increasing polarization among partisans can be attributed to pan-green voters moving toward independence. Between 2008 and 2014, decreasing polarization stems from moderates self-identifying as pan-blue supporters. Since 2014, a record-breaking number of nonpartisans have left the pan-blue camp, and more extreme pan-blue voters have contributed to a return of polarization among partisans. The results yield important implications for the study of polarization and populism, as well as for the future of Taiwanese politics.

Keywords

Polarization; Taiwanese politics; Cross-strait relations; Party identification; Visualization

Disciplines

Other Political Science | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Language

English

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