Election Polling and Democratic Consolidation in Taiwan and Korea

DATE: December 1, 2016

LOCATION: Matrix, 820 Barrows Hall

SPONSORS: Social Science Matrix, Center for Chinese Studies, Center for Korean Studies, and Institute of East Asian Studies



Polling the opinions of voters has become a regularized electoral institution in post-Third Wave democracies like Korea and Taiwan. At the same time, the use, influence, and even accuracy of polling in elections has increasingly come under scrutiny. This conference convenes leading scholars of electoral politics in Korea and Taiwan, as well as counterparts from the United States. The conferees examine the ways in which polling informs and facilitates, or impedes and frustrates, democratic competition. Among the topics that panelists will present on include the role of political parties and mass media, public trust and confidence in polling, the responsiveness of politicians to polls, and technological challenges and innovation in our methods of gauging public opinion.



9:00–9:15: Welcoming Remarks

Kevin O'BRIEN, UC‑Berkeley

9:15–10:30: Polling and Democratic Politics in Taiwan

Lu‑Huei "Jack" CHEN, National Chengchi University and Yung‑Tai HUNG,* National Taiwan University
"Combining Landline and Mobile Phone Samples in Taiwan"

Frank LIU, National Sun Yat‑Sen University
"The Limits of Using 'Unification and Independence' as an Instrument to Understand Taiwan Politics"

Ching‑Hsing WANG, University of Houston and Dennis L. WENG, State University of New York
"Do Election Polls Increase Individual Understanding of Politics?"

Discussant: James LIN, UC‑Berkeley

10:30–10:45: Break

10:45–12:00: Polling and Democratic Politics in Korea

Jiyoon KIM, Asan Institute for Policy Studies
"Regulatory Environment and Technical Limits in Polling: The Case of the 2016 Korean National Assembly Elections"

Seokho KIM, Seoul National University
"Polls in Korean Politics: Contributor to Quality of Democracy?"

Sunmin KIM and Taeku LEE, UC‑Berkeley
"Master or Servant? Public Opinion, Polling, and Democratic Responsiveness in Korea"

Discussant: Shinhye CHOI, UC‑Berkeley

12:00–1:30: Lunch

1:30–2:45: Polling Accuracy in Korea and Taiwan

Kyu S. HAHN, Seoul National University
"What Went Wrong? The Polling Disaster during the South Korea's 20th National Assembly Election"

June Woong RHEE, Seoul National University
"Precision and Accuracy of General Election Polls in South Korea"

Eric Chenhua YU, National Chengchi University
"The Role of Polling in Taiwan's Party Politics"

Discussant: Kihong EOM, Kyungpook National University

2:45–3:00: Break

3:00–4:00: Democracy and Public Opinion in Comparative Perspective

Christopher ACHEN, Princeton University
Russell DALTON, UC‑Irvine
Discussant: Taeku LEE, UC‑Berkeley

*Co‑author, not present at this conference.

Download the schedule here.



Christopher H. ACHEN
Chris Achen is a professor in the Politics Department at Princeton University, where he holds the Roger Williams Straus Chair of Social Sciences. His primary research interests are public opinion, elections, and the realities of democratic politics, along with the statistical challenges that arise from those fields. He is the author or co‑author of six books, including Democracy for Realists (with Larry Bartels), published by Princeton University Press in 2016, and of "The Taiwan Voter" (with T.Y. Wang), forthcoming from University of Michigan Press in 2017. He has also published many articles. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995, and has received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and Princeton's Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. He was the founding president of the Political Methodology Society, and he received the first career achievement award from The Political Methodology Section of The American Political Science Association in 2007. He has served on the top social science board at the National Science Foundation, and he was the chair of the national Council for the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) from 2013–2015. He is also the recipient of an award from the University of Michigan for lifetime achievement in training graduate students.

Lu‑huei “Jack” CHEN
Lu‑huei Chen is Distinguished Research Fellow at the Election Study Center and Professor of Political Science at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Professor Chen received his Ph. D. in political science from Michigan State University. His research focuses on political socialization, research methods, and cross-Strait relations. He has published articles in Issues and Studies, Journal of Electoral Studies (in Chinese), Social Science Quarterly, and Taiwan Political Science Review (in Chinese). He is the editor of Continuity and Change in Taiwan's 2012 Presidential and Legislative Election (in Chinese, 2013), Public Opinion Polls (in Chinese, 2013), and co‑edited The 2008 Presidential Election: A Critical Election on Second Turnover (in Chinese, with Chi Huang and Ching‑hsin Yu, 2009)

Shinhye CHOI
Shinhye Choi is a PhD candidate in Political Science at UC Berkeley with a focus on political economy and quantitative methodology. She is interested in how political elites survive in various democracies. Specifically, her dissertation examines why political party elites voluntarily implement democratic reforms in the candidate selection process in South Korea. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she studied Politics and Economics at Korea University.

Russell J. DALTON
Russell J. Dalton is a Research Professor at the Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine. He has received a Fulbright Professorship at the University of Mannheim, a Barbra Streisand Center fellowship, German Marshall Research Fellowship and a POSCO Fellowship at the East/West Center. His most recent research includes: The Civic Culture Transformed (Cambridge 2015), The Good Citizen, 2nd ed. (Sage 2015), Political Parties and Democratic Linkage (Oxford 2011) and Citizens, Context and Choice (Oxford 2011).

Kihong EOM
Kihong Eom earned his B.A. and M.A. at Yonsei University (Korea) and his Ph.D. from University of Kentucky (U.S.A). He teaches comparative politics and quantitative methodology in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Kyungpook National University, Korea. His research in American and Korean Politics has been published in Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and Korean Political Science Review. His research interests include comparative politics, elections, Congress, political parties and election forecasting. He has previously been involved in a number of different research projects examining various dimensions of campaign finance regulations, corruption, and manifestos. He is a director of the Institute for Basic Social Science and leads a data sharing project.

Kyu Hahn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Seoul National University in Korea. Professor Hahn’s research interests include elections, public opinion, voting behavior, political communication, and political methodology. Some of his most recent publications include “Fragmentation in the Twitter Following of News Outlets: The Representation of South Korean Users' Ideological and Generational Cleavage,” “Quantifying Discrepancies in Opinion Spectra from Online and Offline Networks,” and “The Network of Celebrity Politics.”

Jiyoon KIM
Dr. Kim is a research fellow and the director of the Public Opinion Studies Center at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Université de Montréal. Her research interests include American politics, elections and voting behavior, distributive politics, and political methodology. Her recent publications include “Cognitive and Partisan Mobilization in New Democracies: The Case of South Korea (Party Politics, forthcoming),” “The Party System in Korea and Identity Politics (in New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan, 2014)," “Political judgment, perceptions of facts, and partisan effects (Electoral Studies, 2010).” She received her B.A. from Yonsei University, M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Seokho KIM
Seokho Kim is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University in Korea. Professor Kim’s research interests include political attitude and behavior, civil society, international migration, and survey methodology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2008.

Sunmin KIM
Sunmin Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of sociology at University of California, Berkeley. He is interested in bringing insights from sociology of culture and knowledge into the studies of race and immigration in the United States. He is currently working on a dissertation project that looks at how social scientists and federal bureaucrats generated knowledge about immigrants in the early 20th century, and how such knowledge undergirded the development of “whiteness” as an idea through the restrictive immigration policy. To answer these questions, Kim analyzes archival materials related to the Dillingham Commission Report (1911) — the most comprehensive study of immigrants ever undertaken by the federal government. In his other projects, Kim studied political incorporation of immigrants and their children in New York City; a new method of understanding minority politics; and the relationship between democracy and public opinion polling in East Asia. Kim received B.A. and M.A. in sociology from Seoul National University.

Taeku LEE
Taeku Lee is Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Lee is also Associate Director of the Haas Institute at Berkeley, Managing Director of Asian American Decisions, and Co‑Principal Investigator of the National Asian American Survey. Lee currently serves as Treasurer and Executive Council for the American Political Science Association, sits on the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Studies and the General Social Survey. His published monographs include Mobilizing Public Opinion (2002); Transforming Politics, Transforming America (2006), Why Americans Don't Join the Party (2011), Accountability through Public Opinion (2011), Asian American Political Participation (2011), Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics (2015). He was previously Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at Yale, Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, and Non‑Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Lee was born in South Korea, grew up in Malaysia, Manhattan, and Michigan, and is a proud graduate of K‑12 public schools, the University of Michigan (A.B.), Harvard University (M.P.P.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.).

James LIN
James Lin is a PhD Candidate in history at UC Berkeley. His dissertation examines the history of agrarian development in China, Taiwan, and the world from 1920 to 1980.

Frank Cheng‑shan LIU
Dr. Frank Cheng‑shan Liu is Professor in the Institute of Political Science at National Sun Yat‑Sen University (NSYSU), Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Kansas in 2006, majoring in the fields of American politics and public policy. His teaching and research interests include Taiwan politics, research methods, public opinion and political behavior, and political communication. His works appear in Journal of East Asian Studies, Advances in Complex Systems, Issues & Studies, International Political Science Review, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Contemporary China, and Asian Survey.

Kevin O’BRIEN is the Walter and Elise Haas Chair Professor in Asian Studies and the Alann P. Bedford Professor of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science. His interests include Social Movements, Comparative Legislatures, Local Elections, and Political Reform. He has served as Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies since July 2013. A student of Chinese politics in the reform era, Professor O'Brien has written articles on topics such as legislative politics, local elections, fieldwork strategies, popular protest, policy implementation, and village-level political reform. He is the author of Reform Without Liberalization: China's National People's Congress and the Politics of Institutional Change (Cambridge, 1990, paperback, 2008) and the co‑author of Rightful Resistance in Rural China (Cambridge, 2006). He is the co‑editor of Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (Stanford, 2005, paperback 2010) and Grassroots Elections in China (Routledge, 2011), and the editor of Popular Protest in China (Harvard, 2008). His most recent work centers on the Chinese state and theories of popular contention, particularly as concerns "soft repression" and the policing of protest.

June Woong RHEE
June Woong Rhee is a Professor in the Department of Communication at Seoul National University in Korea. He earned his B.A. and M.A. at Seoul National University in Korea and his Ph.D. from The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Rhee currently serves as Vice President for The Korean Association for Communication and Information Studies and The Korean Association for Survey Research. Some of his most notable publications include Speech and Power as well as “Television ratings and institutionally effective users.”

Ching‑Hsing WANG
Ching‑Hsing Wang is a postdoctoral fellow in the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. His research interests include research methods, political behavior, political psychology, public opinion, and Asian politics. He has published articles in such scholarly journals as Electoral Studies, International Political Science Review, Issues & Studies, Party Politics, Social Science Quarterly, Taiwanese Political Science Review, The Social Science Journal, and so on.

Eric Chen‑hua YU
Eric Chen‑hua Yu is an associate research fellow at the Election Study Center (ESC) and jointly appointed as an associate professor of political science at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He is also Director of Domestic Affairs at Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). Before he returned to Taiwan in 2009, he was a research fellow and program manager of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI, 2006–2009). His research interests include public opinion, electoral politics, quantitative methods, and American politics. Yu received an MS (2000) in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in political science (2006) from Columbia University.

Download the biographies here.



"Election Polling and Democratic Consolidation in Taiwan and Korea" will be held at 820 Barrows Hall on the central campus.

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