More than half of respondents in a survey published yesterday said that if President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) were a brand, his brand personality would be that of an “over-packaged product” with “exaggerated claims of effectiveness.”
The three most chosen descriptions of Ma’s brand were all negative, with 60.6 percent of participants saying Ma was “over-packaged,” 53.3 percent saying his abilities were “exaggerated” and 38.5 percent seeing him as “an expired, deteriorating product” in the survey conducted by research firm Taiwan Indicators Survey Research.
The newly established company, headed by former Global Views Survey Research Center director Tai Li-an (戴立安), released its first Taiwan Mood Barometer Survey, which Tai said would be conducted twice a month and cover various economic and political issues.
Ma’s unpopularity was reflected in the poll, with 57.4 percent of respondents saying the president was not trustworthy and 67.5 percent disapproving of his performance.
Even 47.4 percent of those who identified themselves as pan-blue supporters were unsatisfied with Ma’s performance, Tai said.
Tai also said Ma’s leadership ability had been in doubt after a series of controversial policies on US beef imports, capital gains taxation and fuel and electricity price hikes.
Ma’s current level of credibility was a far cry from his days as Taipei mayor, Tai said, adding that 68.2 percent of respondents in an August 2004 poll had said Ma was a trustworthy leader.
“It seems to us that President Ma, who begins his second term in office on May 20, will face both a ‘credibility crisis’ and a ‘leadership crisis’ in the next four years,” Tai said.
The lack of confidence in the president shows in people’s reluctance to support his China policy, with 58.2 percent of respondents saying political or military negotiations between Taiwan and China are unnecessary in the next four years.
In addition, 24.7 percent agreed with more extensive cross-strait negotiations in the future, down from 43.2 percent in November 2008.
Only 14.4 percent of those surveyed said Ma’s re-election would further relax Beijing’s ambition to annex Taiwan, while 25.8 percent said China would become even more aggressive and 46.5 percent expected no change.
The poll also found that views on Taiwan’s economic outlook were dismal, with 84.3 percent of respondents saying that the economy was bad.
Premier Sean Chen’s (陳冲) approval rating was 21.8 percent after three months in office, the poll showed.
Chen’s satisfaction ratings were comparatively lower than those of his two predecessors’, former premiers Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who averaged an approval rating of 34 percent after their first three months in office, Tai said.
The poll, conducted between Sunday and Tuesday, was drawn from 1,701 respondents with a margin of error of 3 percent.
Tai’s resignation from the Global View poll center during the presidential campaign in October last year caught the public’s attention after the release of a public opinion poll which was unfavorable toward Ma.
Tai declined to comment yesterday whether he had resigned due to political pressure on him and his former employer.
Separately yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said the Presidential Office would take all poll results as references and promised to reflect on the government’s performance with humility.
Ma, who will be sworn in for his second term on May 20, is faced with record-low support in opinion polls and growing challenges from within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over recent policies.
Ma previously brushed aside such concerns and said the government is determined to push forward reforms. Yesterday he declined to comment on his waning support.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih
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