Taiwan Election Results Predicted in Computer Simulation

A research team led by 21st Century China Program Fulbright Visiting Professor Shiping Tang has just released their computer simulation-based predictions for Taiwan's upcoming presidential and legislature elections. Professor Tang is Fudan Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Complex Decision Analysis (CCDA), Fudan University in China. He is spending 2015-2016 academic year at the UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy while his team back in Shanghai has been working on this project in the past year.

According to the simulation, in the upcoming presidential election, the Democratic Progressive Party is predicted to win 56.4% of the popular votes, KMT 41.1% of the votes and the People First Party 2.5% of the votes.

Two scenarios are created for Taiwan's legislative elections. Under a more optimistic scenario for the KMT, it is projected to win 48-53 seats out of a total 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, while the DPP will win 50-55 seats. Under a less optimistic scenario for the KMT, the party is projected to win only 36-40 seats out of 113 while the DPP will win 63-67 seats.

While predicting presidential elections is relatively easy, predicting legislative elections with local complications and numerous seats contested has always been more challenging. This is so even when the polling data is of a high quality.

The method developed by Prof. Tang and his colleagues circumvents the need of having to rely on polling data. By creatively integrating several computer-based techniques, his team has developed an original agent-based modeling (ABM) simulation platform that combines micro-level data about the voters and macro-level demographic, economic, political, and social data. The whole simulation process does not need any input from public opinion polls. Prof. Tang believes that with further refinement and improvement, their approach may one day transform the field of election prediction and electoral studies worldwide.

Professor Tang's team is releasing its predictions to the public domain several days before Taiwan's Election Day on January 16, 2016 so that students of elections can check the predictions against the eventual voting results.

Computer simulation-based Predictions for Taiwan's 2016 Presidential and Legislature Election

Presidential Election

Party KMT



(Democratic Progressive)

People First


Votes (%) 41.09% 56.41% 2.50%

Legislative Li-Fa-Yuan  Elections

Scenario A (a more optimistic scenario for KMT)

Party or camp KMT


DPP (Democratic Progressive) Other parties Total
No. of seats 48-53 55-50 10 113

Scenario B (a more pessimistic scenario for KMT)

Party or camp KMT


DPP (Democratic Progressive) Other parties Total
No. of seats 40-36 63-67 10 113


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Peter Larson

is the Editor in Chief of the China Focus Blog. He is a second year student at GPS, studying International Economics with a regional focus on China. Peter's research interests include China's politics, economy, foreign policy and US-China relations.

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