Yesterday, the drama of Blue and White cooperation took a new turn: the two parties claimed that due to the inconsistent determination of the “range of error”, the People’s Party refused to sign, causing another change in the cooperation.
Suddenly, a technical term like error margin became the focus of public discussion. Several experts in statistical research also took this opportunity to educate and introduce relevant statistical knowledge to everyone. This kind of knowledge popularization is not only meaningful in itself, but also has another effect: understanding the relevant statistical knowledge, you can see that this is basically a confusing battle, it is a smoke bomb from the beginning, and it is definitely not the crux of the problem.
It’s not that the two sides have no consensus, it’s that they can’t even explain clearly what they are arguing about.
The so-called margin of error, or sampling error, is very clearly defined in statistics textbooks. The actual calculation is actually more complicated than the versions stated by Blue and White. For example, the sampling errors of different candidates need to be calculated separately, but after all, there is a formula to follow. According to the content of the consultation exclusively disclosed by the “Shanghai Daily”, General Manager Guan Zhiyu, an expert recommended by the People’s Party, did not dispute this basic statistical knowledge – he is an expert in polling after all, and it is impossible to dispute this issue. On the contrary, the question he raised did not come from statistics, but from politics; General Manager Guan argued that the standard should be the “3% margin” mentioned by Ke Wenzhe in his public speech, rather than sampling error in a strict statistical sense.
However, at the press conference of the two parties during the day on Saturday, although both sides still verbally described the dispute as “concession of 3% or concession of 6%”, actually observing the explanations of the data by both parties revealed that the difference was not there at all. Here – the way the Kuomintang actually interprets the table is to directly compare the data of “Hou Ke” and “Ke Hou” to see which group is higher; however, the way the People’s Party interprets it is to look at the data of “Hou Ke” and “Ke Hou” The difference between “Ke Hou” and “Lai Xiao” depends on whether “Hou Ke” wins more or “Ke Hou” wins more, and whether the difference in “lead margin” between the two plans exceeds the preset error range. To use more familiar vocabulary, the Kuomintang is looking at the “comparison” between the two combinations and does not care about the comparison with Lai Xiao; the People’s Party is looking at the “comparison” between the two combinations and Lai Xiao, comparing the two plans with Lai Xiao The size of the gap between Xiao.
From a purely statistical point of view, this dispute is too reasonable – the definition of sampling error can be found in textbooks, and there is no way to argue about it. However, whether it depends on comparison or mutual comparison, each has its own significance in statistical research, and there may not be a correct answer.
The Kuomintang looks at the “comparison” between the two combinations, regardless of the comparison with Lai Xiao; the People’s Party looks at the “comparison” between the two combinations and Lai Xiao, and compares the gap between the two plans and Lai Xiao. (Photography: Wang Yousheng)
However, from a political perspective, such “reasonableness” seems absurd. First of all, since this is the real issue, why can’t the two parties explain it clearly at the press conference? Secondly, you don’t need to be a senior politician. Anyone who is a news reader who pays attention to public opinion polls has probably heard the difference between “contrast” and “intercomparison” (although Lai Xiao is included in the questions, so it is different from the typical one). The comparisons are different from each other, but the logic is similar). How come the two sides didn’t discuss this issue until the early hours of the last day, but it suddenly surfaced when they held a press conference the next day to air their respective grievances?
What’s more, this problem is not new, they have known about these problems for a long time. While the camps of Zhu, Hou and Ke were still arguing from a distance, Zhu Lilun had directly told the media that one of the biggest sticking points between the two sides was whether to compare or compare. More broadly speaking, it includes whether the two combinations of “Hou Ke” and “Ke Hou” should be compared with “Lai Xiao”, or whether Ke and Hou should compare each other with Lai Qingde, or even Lai Kehou should be compared together, or even weighted, mobile phone Issues such as the proportion of local calls have been the subject of public debate between the two camps, and whether to include Terry Gou has also been discussed.
That agreement was a waste of paper.
Since these controversies have always been a source of quarrel between Blue and White, why were they not made clear at Wednesday’s meeting? If we don’t know where the rocks are, it’s understandable that we’ll hit the rocks at the last moment, but it will only make people doubt the ability of these two major political parties and four political figures to do things. But what if you already knew the rock was there but still ran straight into it?
Therefore, we have to suspect that the reason why the ship is not afraid of the rocks may be because the ship had no intention of actually sailing there and was just pretending, so these major disputes could not be resolved. However, Ke Wenzhe regretted it temporarily, or at least wanted to win something more, so he picked up the existing scolding book again and used it as a reason to turn over the table.
In any case, we can say that the consent form written in black and white on Wednesday is a piece of waste paper. Regardless of whether it is really just a show, since we know that these issues are controversial, and since these issues – at least on paper – are the main reasons why Blue and White were unable to cooperate in the past, it is quite disturbing that they were not made clear in meetings and agreements. People are confused.
What’s more, regarding the comparison of polls, another bigger issue has not been made clear: in fact, the statistical definition of the error margin is very clear. Experts believe that it should be just a formality, but “who decides which polls are included” is the biggest Knowledge truly determines victory or defeat. Previously, the two sides have also disputed whether certain polling agencies are accurate. Indeed, during the Blue and White Conference, there was also a dispute over whether three polls should be included in the calculation, and the mobile phone local call ratios of the polls included in the calculation were different. Only one included Terry Gou, and the others did not. There is clearly no agreed-upon standard. Rather than calculating the margin of error, which polls should be included is the key to victory or defeat. Why are the parties not discussing it?
According to the same report in “Shanghai Bao”, Ke Wenzhe did not seem to be completely unaware of this problem. Before signing, he reportedly muttered to himself: “Ask experts and scholars to determine which polls can be used and which cannot be used, and whether they will be deleted.” Can’t you use the last one?” Ke Wenzhe remembered this until the last moment. The document signed by the four people was, in common English terms, a waste of paper (not worth the paper). it is written on).
Ma Ying-jeou leads the blue-white alliance, which is even more fierce than promoting trade in services
The crux of the problem is obviously Ma Ying-jeou. In the past month, the number of times the blue and white parties held press conferences to curse each other was far greater than the number of times they actually sat down for meetings to negotiate. However, things developed rapidly as soon as Ma Ying-jeou took action, and the problems that the two parties had in the past month were no longer a problem─Ma Ying-jeou seemed to have Super powers, just as the trade negotiations with China led by Ma Ying-jeou seem to be able to “shelve” sovereignty issues, the Blue and White Cooperation Agreement led by him also seems to be able to “shelve” these disputes that actually exist and will definitely affect victory or defeat.
But everyone knows that if both parties just go through the motions and behave politely, then forget it. If like Ke Wenzhe wants to go back on his word, these problems will definitely resurface. So where did Ma Ying-jeou get the confidence to think that he could “package the vote” and sign directly, which would be more tough than the trade in services?
Moreover, Ma Ying-jeou is obviously very confident in his own strength. He not only wants to save face, but also wants to intervene in the negotiations openly and with a high profile. The press conference originally expected to announce the results was also held at the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation. In that early morning meeting, among the three polling experts, In addition, Xiao Xucen, CEO of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation, and Wang Guangci, director of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation, were present throughout the entire event and even acted as moderators of the meeting. In addition, what Ma Ying-jeou said to Ko Wenzhe in front of reporters, “I didn’t expect today to happen,” was a manifestation of the Taiwanese saying that “win the battle” and “win the words” (even if you win in gambling, you still have to take advantage of words).
The error in the error range is simply the fog of a smoke bomb. When the smoke dissipates, what is revealed is Ma Ying-jeou’s return. (Photography: Zhang Zhewei)
What is even more noteworthy is that Ma Ying-jeou has not shied away from possible doubts from the outside world. Given Ma Ying-jeou’s background, he must have known that his actions would inevitably arouse public doubts about the CCP’s involvement in the election. However, not only did he not avoid suspicion, but he also did not change his operations behind the scenes. He was also very ostentatious. The time of intervention was even chosen after Xiao Xucen left for China, as if he was not worried at all that the outside world would question whether this was the imperial envoy’s order. What’s more, on the morning of the meeting, Xiao Xucen also asked the Hou Ban to refresh his “common sense on mainland affairs” at the press conference. Regardless of whether the fox is fake or the tiger is powerful, Ma Ying-jeou’s determination to win and the fact that he really pushed for the signing on the day are the most suspicious.
In particular, why Ke Wenzhe was controlled by Ma Ying-jeou is the biggest mystery. Integration is obviously not good for him. Not only will he lose the aura of “new politics”, but he may also have to cooperate with the Kuomintang during the election campaign. These are all harmful to his ability to increase the votes of non-district parties─and if the Kuomintang cannot significantly increase its seats this time , the People’s Party may collapse faster than the People’s First Party. Furthermore, no one believes that Ke Wenzhe is willing to give in to the vice president. The term “supervision and checks and balances” is completely contrary to common sense. Even he himself does not believe it. He can only understand it as a step down in panic.
Even if we put aside for the time being the issue of whether the CCP interferes in the election through Ma Ying-jeou, the mere fact that “Ma Ying-jeou has the power to command Blue and White” is quite alarming: Will Ma Ying-jeou’s power be fully restored to the DPRK? Will those who can call for the integration of Blue and White also have leverage to participate in subsequent elections, influence Ke Wenzhe’s campaign style, and even guide Blue and White’s policy? Are the policy lines toward China and stance on constitutional democracy that Taiwanese voters rejected in 2014 and 2016 now going to be fully returned? In this Blue and White Controversy, the so-called margin of error is simply the mist of a smoke bomb. When the smoke dissipates, what is revealed is Ma Ying-jeou’s return.
※PhD candidate at the Institute of Sociology, National Taiwan University