Seventy-one percent of Taipei residents will come out and vote if a national referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is held tomorrow, and 66 percent said they would vote in support of suspending construction of the plant, a survey released by the Taipei City Government yesterday showed.
The poll, conducted by Taipei City’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission on Tuesday and Wednesday, was conducted against the backdrop of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) open opposition to the construction of the plant.
A cross-over analysis of the survey found that of the 842 respondents who said they would participate in the referendum, 78 percent said they would vote to suspend construction. Of the 273 respondents who said they would not vote in the referendum, 40 percent said they support the plant’s suspension.
Hau, in announcing the poll’s results, said he does not oppose the Executive Yuan’s proposed referendum, but reiterated that public polls could be a faster and more effective way to resolve disputes and seek a consensus over the issue.
“I am concerned about the safe operation of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, and most people share my concern... I do not oppose the referendum, but it is not the only way to resolve disputes on a major policy,” he said.
He expressed concern about the vote turnout and said the Executive Yuan should step up efforts to provide vital information on nuclear power issues and encourage more people to vote, so that the result of the referendum would not be invalidated because of a voter turnout of less than 50 percent.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇), a polling expert, said in a democratic society, the government would halt or make adjustments to a major policy if surveys found that most people opposed it.
He said the city would invite other cities and counties to conduct similar surveys, and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has also promised to conduct nationwide polls to gauge public opinion on the issue.
In response to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) assurance on Wednesday that the government would use a referendum to determine the plant’s fate, Hau said he would continue to communicate with the Executive Yuan and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
“The KMT is not an authoritarian party, and I will continue to discuss my ideas with party members,” he said.
The survey polled 1,182 Taipei residents with a confidence level of 95 percent. Ting said the city would conduct such polls every month to gauge public opinion on the issue until the referendum is held.