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Voter Cynicism, Perception of Media Negativism and Voting Behavior in Taiwan's 2001 Election
Unformatted Document Text:  14 Conclusions and Discussion After about fifty years of KMT rule, Taiwan voters gave opposition party (DPP) candidate Chen Shui-bian, a victory in the year 2000. With 39% of the popular vote, Chen found it difficult to implement his policies in the first year due to resistance from opposition party members. The 2001 election was very important for the President, who hoped to lead his party to becoming the largest party in Parliament. During the campaigning, the election was often depicted as a contest between the Pan-Blue (the KMT color) and the Pan-Green (DPP’s color) camps. The electoral process was full of negative campaigning tactics. While most of the intellectuals were talking about alienation, disaffection, Red Cross and Rotary Club in Taiwan were advocating “Anti-cynicism Movement”(United Daily News, 2002, Oct., 3, 39) to promote friendship, sincerity, cooperation, etc. And many people accused media’s negative coverage of campaign that drove the voters away. This research study has attempted to examine the relationships between voters’ cynicism, actual voting patterns, satisfactions toward electoral process and outcome with their political efficacy, and perceptions of media negativism. Age is the only demographic variable predicting voters’ perception of negative television election coverage. Voter education and income were significant predictors in explaining their cynicism. The higher the educational level and income of the voter, the more cynical the voter. Moreover, voters’ cable television use was significantly related to their cynicism. The less the voters’ watched the cable news, the more cynical they were. Additionally, the more they paid attention to cable television campaign coverage, the more cynical they were. In a previous survey, this researcher has found that more Taiwan voters depended on cable news for political information (Peng, 2002). It is therefore suggested that the content of cable campaign coverage needs closer attention. As for actual voting and satisfaction toward the electoral process and outcome, most of the media variables did not show significant predictive power. Watching television’s talk shows, however, was related to voters’ satisfactions toward the electoral outcome, which signified the important role of talk shows in recent political communication arena. But all the variables related to the perceptions of media negativism by the voters were not significant. One might expect that voters might perceive the campaign coverage was negative, but this perception will not affect their voting behavior.

Authors: Peng, Wein (Bonnie).
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14
Conclusions and Discussion
After about fifty years of KMT rule, Taiwan voters gave opposition party (DPP)
candidate Chen Shui-bian, a victory in the year 2000. With 39% of the popular vote,
Chen found it difficult to implement his policies in the first year due to resistance
from opposition party members. The 2001 election was very important for the
President, who hoped to lead his party to becoming the largest party in Parliament.
During the campaigning, the election was often depicted as a contest between the
Pan-Blue (the KMT color) and the Pan-Green (DPP’s color) camps. The electoral
process was full of negative campaigning tactics. While most of the intellectuals were
talking about alienation, disaffection, Red Cross and Rotary Club in Taiwan were
advocating “Anti-cynicism Movement”(United Daily News, 2002, Oct., 3, 39) to
promote friendship, sincerity, cooperation, etc. And many people accused media’s
negative coverage of campaign that drove the voters away. This research study has
attempted to examine the relationships between voters’ cynicism, actual voting
patterns, satisfactions toward electoral process and outcome with their political
efficacy, and perceptions of media negativism.
Age is the only demographic variable predicting voters’ perception of negative
television election coverage. Voter education and income were significant predictors
in explaining their cynicism. The higher the educational level and income of the voter,
the more cynical the voter. Moreover, voters’ cable television use was significantly
related to their cynicism. The less the voters’ watched the cable news, the more
cynical they were. Additionally, the more they paid attention to cable television
campaign coverage, the more cynical they were. In a previous survey, this researcher
has found that more Taiwan voters depended on cable news for political information
(Peng, 2002). It is therefore suggested that the content of cable campaign coverage
needs closer attention.
As for actual voting and satisfaction toward the electoral process and outcome, most
of the media variables did not show significant predictive power. Watching
television’s talk shows, however, was related to voters’ satisfactions toward the
electoral outcome, which signified the important role of talk shows in recent political
communication arena. But all the variables related to the perceptions of media
negativism by the voters were not significant. One might expect that voters might
perceive the campaign coverage was negative, but this perception will not affect their
voting behavior.


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