A poll released yesterday found an overwhelming majority of respondents — 82.96 percent — are unhappy with the way the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) handled the Sunflower movement protests over the past three weeks.
The survey, conducted by the Chinese-language Liberty Times’ (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) polling center on Wednesday and Thursday nights, also found that a majority of respondents thought the student activism would deepen democracy in Taiwan.
The Sunflower movement became the name of the protesters who occupied the Legislative Yuan on March 18 to protest against the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
The movement’s sit-in inside the legislature’s main chamber ended on Thursday evening when more than 100 protesters left the building.
When asked about the movement’s demands that a law governing oversight of cross-strait negotiations be passed before a review of the service trade pact is resumed, 74.19 percent of respondents agreed with the demand, 17.44 percent disagreed and 8.37 percent had no opinion, the poll found.
More than half of those polled — 58.32 percent — were against student protesters having to face legal action over their actions.
Of those surveyed, 34.28 percent favored the judiciary investigating the protesters, while 6.4 percent declined to comment.
Even among supporters of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the dissatisfaction rates were high.
Analysis showed that among those respondents who said they favored the KMT, 71.16 percent were not happy with the government’s handling of the Legislative Yuan protest, while 25 percent backed the administration.
Among those who said they supported the Democratic Progressive Party, 94.44 percent said that the government had mishandled the situation, while 3.47 percent said they were satisfied with the government’s reaction.
Among those respondents who said they were politically neutral, 82.47 percent did not agree with the government’s handling of the student-led opposition, while only 10.6 percent were in favor.
Comparing the Presidential Office’s response to the Wild Lilies student protest in 1990, when then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) met with student representatives at his office and gave concrete answers to their demands, the poll found that respondents were unhappy with the Presidential Office’s initial criticism of the Sunflower movement and its subsequent sidestepping of the students’ demands.
The Liberty Times poll interviewed 1,015 people aged 20 or above through a random sampling of the last two digits of home telephone numbers nationwide.
The poll has a margin of error of 3.08 percentage points positive or negative and was completely funded by the Liberty Times.