For the global community, the outcome of the polls is a determiner for Taiwan's amorphous relationship with China, which views the territory as a renegade province that can be re-taken by force if necessary.
China and Taiwan parted ways in 1949, when the Nationalist Party (KMT) was forced to retreat to Taiwan by the Chinese Communist Party. No armistice or peace treaty has ever been signed.
While the strained relations between the two has always been viewed to be a geopolitical risk, KMT historically holds the view that the two sides will unify ... sometime. Ties between the two have also improved over the past eight years under the leadership of current president Ma Ying-jeou, with a slate of trade and economic agreements signed.
Even though the DPP's presidential candidate has said she will not upset the status quo, a new party in power will inject uncertainty not just between the neighbors, but also into Taiwan's export-reliant economy.
"The question is whether a [Democratic Progressive Party] government and Beijing is able to create a new political framework that maintains stability across the Taiwan Strait," said Evan Medeiros, managing director and Asia practice head at consultancy Eurasia Group.
The U.S. is watching the poll warily and is already expected to send envoys to both Beijing and Taiwan after the election to smooth things over.
Bill Stanton, the former director of the American Institute in Taiwan (the de facto U.S. embassy), told CNBC that Washington was concerned about an imminent DPP win and would urge both sides to keep the peace in the region.