The central issue in Taiwan’s politics revolves around the island’s relationship with China. The three major parties—the Kuomintang, Democratic Progressive Party, and Taiwan People’s Party—take different positions on this, and their supporters align with these respective positions. However, there is a scarcity of research on the foreign policy inclinations of individuals who do not align with any political party. We find empirically that self-reported independents in Taiwan exhibit a preference for bandwagoning, driven by concerns for tangible material benefits; cultural similarity, economic interests, and the power dynamics between the US and China also play substantial roles here. These findings shed light on the unique role and dynamics of independents in Taiwan’s political landscape. Our theoretical innovation lies in showing that in a democracy, different factors come into play in the formation of the foreign policy preferences of different groups.

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