Tainan's mayor is polling ahead of Tsai Ing-wen for 2020 election

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Tainan Mayor William Lai has a better chance of winning the 2020 presidential election than incumbent Tsai Ing-wen does - at least according to a poll by Taiwan Brain Trust.

In a two-way race, some 38.2 per cent of respondents said they would support Lai while 20.8 per cent said they would support Tsai.

The survey by the think tank - which was founded by a staunchly pro-independence political figure with a history of attacking Tsai - also found that both of the Democratic Progressive Party members enjoyed higher support than potential rivals from the Kuomintang.

The poll found that 45.9 per cent would pick Tsai over 25.9 per cent for ex-Vice President Wu Den-yih if the two were pitted against each other.

The gap was closer for a race between Tsai and New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu, who would pick up 41.25 per cent and 37.2 per cent, respectively, the survey found.

However, Lai held even larger lead against both KMT candidates, beating Wu 59.3 per cent to 20.8 per cent and topping Chu 53.9 per cent to 31 per cent.

The poll also showed that Hon Hai Precision Industry chief Terry Gou, who some have called on to run in 2020, led Tsai 44.4 per cent to 38.1 per cent.

Gou, however, was also trumped by Lai, 48.4 per cent to 37.5 per cent.

"I think the best candidate would be William Lai," Taiwan Brain Trust founder Koo Kwang-ming said.

He added that it was understandable for Tsai to have lost some popularity because of her push for reforms, and that Lai would likely have the same popularity rating were he running the country.