Sun, Apr 09, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Tsai needs to focus on home now

By Michael Hsiao 蕭新煌

After comparing two recent polls — which have received little media attention — with other documentation, I found that although there were a few perplexing outliers, the polls revealed some meaningful findings worth analyzing.

One poll released by my-formosa.com on March 27 was only released online, while the other, by the Cross-Strait Policy Association released on March 29, was announced at a news conference.

My-formosa.com is pan-greenleaning, while the association spans the green-blue spectrum. The organizations conducting the polling were Taiwan Indicators Survey Research and the Greater Social Survey Center respectively, neither of which appear to have a strong political preference. It would therefore be inappropriate to interpret the differences between the polls along the political divide.

Overall, the polls suggest that Taiwanese continue to keep a close watch on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy performance and administration and that although the public have confidence in the administration, a majority is unhappy with its performance.

According to the association’s poll, 42.5 percent of the respondents were happy with Tsai’s performance, while 54.1 percent were unhappy.

My-formosa’s results are much more negative, with only 29.5 percent of respondents saying they were happy with Tsai’s performance and 58 percent saying they were unhappy. Only 39.8 of respondents said that they trust Tsai, while 45.7 said they did not.

In both polls, the disapproval rating is more than 50 percent, with 45 percent to 50 percent of respondents saying that they did not trust the government. However, my-formosa also had a high percentage of respondents who did not express an opinion: 12.5 percent of its respondents expressed no opinion about Tsai’s performance and 14.5 percent gave no clear answer when asked whether they trust her.

So far there has been no sign that the Tsai administration’s approval rating has rebounded and the polls could send an alarming messages to her and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Tsai’s approval and trust ratings are deeply influenced by people’s political beliefs. The increasing polarization of public opinion is worrying as it suggests an unhealthy and unwanted political trend.

Both polls included many questions about cross-strait relations and revealed some interesting findings.

One of the questions in the my-formosa poll — “How have cross-strait relations changed since the Tsai administration took office?” — is easy to answer. More than half of the respondents — 51.2 percent — said they had deteriorated, while 36.8 percent said they had not changed or has stayed more or less the same. This is an indication of increasing political polarization among the public.

This is further reflected when respondents were asked what they think caused the changes, as pan-green supporters generally blamed the Chinese government, while pan-blue supporters blamed the national government.

The poll also asked respondents whether they accept the “one China” article in the Constitution, which stipulates that the Republic of China (ROC) includes China. Although more than half of the respondents — 54 percent — said it was unacceptable, about one-third said it was acceptable.

Meanwhile, more than 70 percent clearly said they cannot accept Beijing’s “one China” principle or treating Taiwan as a part of China, while less than 15 percent of the respondents said that it is acceptable. This shows that whether a person supports the “one China” article in the Constitution or Beijing’s “one China” principle continues to be influenced by their political preferences.

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