President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating hit a new low of 9.2 percent, the first time the rating has dipped to to single-digits, in a public opinion poll released yesterday amid widespread public dissatisfaction with Ma’s role in ongoing political strife within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Only 9.2 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with Ma’s performance in his second term, which began in May last year, while 80.5 percent of those polled disapproved of his performance and 10.3 percent declined to comment, according to the poll conducted by ERA Survey Research Center, a subsidiary of ERA Television.
Asked if they have confidence about Ma’s leadership in the remainder of his term, 72 percent of the respondents said no, while 16.1 percent said yes and 11.9 percent declined to comment.
In another poll, released by TVBS last week, Ma had an approval rating of 11 percent, between 2 and 6 percentage points down from his rating of between 13 and 17 percent in the past six months.
Even former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is serving a 20-year prison term for corruption, at the height of and in the aftermath of his corruption scandal never registered single-digit approval ratings.
The survey, conducted on Friday and Saturday, also asked respondents about political turmoil in the KMT surrounding the revoking of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) party membership after Wang was accused of illegal lobbying by Ma.
Almost two-thirds, or 63.2 percent, of those polled were not satisfied with the way Ma, who is also KMT chairman, had handled the controversy, while 49.9 percent of respondents said Wang had dealt with the incident well.
Almost half — 49.2 percent — of the respondents said they would support a recall campaign against Ma because the president had infringed on human rights and jeopardized the constitutional system, with 34.7 percent opposing a recall and 16.1 percent saying they have no opinion.
Wang, whose KMT membership is in question, despite a court ruling upholding his request for an injunction to retain his membership temporarily, appeared to receive solid support from the respondents as 50 percent of those polled said they would not support Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Shiu-chu (洪秀柱) replacing Wang, even if Wang was eventually stripped of his speaker position.
Regarding Wang’s future, 34 percent of respondents said the 72-year-old should do his best to stay with the KMT, with 20.4 percent calling for Wang’s retirement from politics and 86 percent urging him to establish a new political party.
The poll collected 1,039 valid samples and had a margin of errors of 3 percentage points.
Meanwhile, Ma posted a message on his Facebook yesterday saying that national stability and smooth governance were key, but that efforts to uphold equality and justice, and the maintenance of judicial independence, should not be ignored.
Undue influence by senior officials in legal cases is a question that is clearly on either the side of right, or wrong, Ma wrote.
There is no neutral ground or gray area on the matter, and I would not compromise on this stance, Ma wrote, adding that this was his solemn promise to the people.
Additional reporting by Jake Chung