Thu, Nov 20, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Ma’s approval rating cut in half since coming to power

LOSING STEAM The survey showed that 54 percent of respondents believe the government performed better in the last three months than in the first three

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH DPA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has seen his approval rating nearly halved since his May 20 inauguration because of public anger over the nation’s deteriorating economy, a newspaper poll published yesterday found.

The telephone poll of 1,029 adults by the United Daily News showed that satisfaction with Ma has dropped from 66 percent on his inauguration day to its lowest level, 37 percent, on Tuesday.

Of those respondents who said they were discontented with Ma, 32 percent said he had failed to revive Taiwan’s economy, 21 percent thought he was not bold enough in his administration, while the rest said Ma’s policies changed too often and he was too soft in dealing with China.

However, 54 percent of those polled said Ma has the ability to run the country, while 32 percent said he lacks the ability to lead Taiwan.

During his election campaign, Ma promised that if he won, he would raise Taiwan’s annual economic growth rate to 6 percent, keep the jobless rate below 3 percent and raise per capita income to US$30,000.

The government’s forecast for this year’s economic growth is 4.3 percent, but several international financial institutions predicted that growth in Taiwan’s GDP would slow to 2 percent or even lower next year.

Also, a government survey released yesterday showed that 50.6 percent of the public disapproved of Ma’s performance, while the disapproval rate of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) was 53.5 percent.

The survey was conducted by the Cabinet’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission last Monday and Tuesday.

The poll, which surveyed 1,089 effective samples from adults aged over 20 nationwide, found 43.2 percent of respondents approved of Ma’s performance so far, down from 47 percent in a poll the commission conducted in August after Ma’s first three months in office.

The poll released yesterday showed that 50.6 percent were displeased with Ma’s performance, higher than the 36.3 percent in the August poll.

The poll also showed Liu’s approval rate dropped from 41.9 percent in August to 37.7 percent this month, while his disapproval rate surged from 37.9 percent in August to 53.5 percent this month.

The survey showed that 48.9 percent of the respondents said they believed Liu would do a better job in the future, while 32.4 percent of the respondents did not.

When asked whether they were satisfied with the overall performance of the government, the disapproval rate went from 39 percent in August to 54.7 percent this month, while the approval rate went from 44 percent to 40.2 percent.

However, the survey also showed that 54 percent of the respondents said they believed the government performed better in the last three months than in its first three months in office.

According to the survey, 52.7 percent of respondents were satisfied with the government’s cross-strait relations, while 41.4 percent were dissatisfied. Sixty-four percent of the respondents were satisfied with government policies in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing energy consumption, while 29 percent were dissatisfied.

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