Tue, May 31, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Majority reject unification: poll

By Chiu Yan-ling and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An overwhelming majority of Taiwanese reject eventual unification with China, the results of a poll released yesterday by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research showed, with 66.4 percent opposed to it and only 18.5 percent in favor, while 15.1 percent remained noncommittal.

The poll also found that 50.4 percent of pan-blue respondents said they oppose unification, and that opposition to unification increases with youth, with 81 percent of those in the 20 to 29 age group saying that they oppose it.

The poll found 52.6 percent of respondents agreed that eventual independence should be Taiwan’s goal, with 30.9 opposed and 16.5 percent remaining noncommittal.

A cross-analysis of the poll showed that 74.7 percent of pan-green supporters and 30.6 percent of pan-blue supporters backed eventual independence, with 58.7 percent of pan-blues saying they are opposed to it.

Youth is correlated with approval for national independence, with about 72 percent of those in the 20 to 29 age group supporting independence, the cross-analysis found.

When compared with historical polling data, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) electoral victory in the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections — unprecedented in its 30-year history — were found to have no significant impact on public attitudes about independence or unification, according to the cross-analysis.

“This suggested that public opinion on the issue is firmly established and not easily swayed by single-issue concerns,” the pollsters said.

The poll found 64.1 percent of respondents said that if Beijing announced a timetable for unification, they would support the government holding a national referendum to decide whether to accept or reject unification, with 24.3 percent opposed and 11.7 percent remaining noncommittal.

The poll found that responses across different political camps to the hypothetical scenario are broadly similar to the general trend, suggesting a nonpartisan consensus with regard to the issue.

The latest survey and historical polling data suggests Beijing risks precipitating a referendum in Taiwan if it announces a unification timetable as a pressure tactic, the pollsters said.

The poll found 57.1 percent of respondents approved of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inaugural address acknowledging a cross-strait negotiation in 1992, as well as her omission of any acknowledgement of the so-called “1992 consensus” or “one China” principle, with 22.2 percent disapproving and 20.6 percent remaining noncommittal.

Tsai’s remarks had an approval rating of 83 percent and a disapproval rating of 7 percent with pan-greens, 30.1 percent approval and 56.1 percent disapproval with pan-blues, and 41.5 percent approval and 20.4 percent disapproval with neutrals, the poll found.

In addition, as a response to Chinese diplomatic pressure, the poll found that 51.4 percent of respondents said that they believe it is not necessary for the Tsai administration to accede to Beijing’s demands to recognize the “one China” principle, with 27.5 percent saying that it should accede and 21 percent remaining noncommittal.

Cross-analysis suggested that in general, youth and high education is correlated with disbelief in the necessity for the Tsai administration to accede to Beijing’s demands, the pollsters said.

The poll was conducted on Thursday and Friday, and collected 1,007 valid samples from across the nation, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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