Tue, Jun 27, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Tsai’s approval rating dips to new low

MONTHLY SURVEY:Tsai could be hurt more if she rams her infrastructure development budget through the legislature, the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation chair said

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation chairman You Ying-lung yesterday presents the results of the foundation’s latest monthly opinion poll at a news conference in Taipei.

Photo:Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating has dropped to a new low of 33 percent due to diplomatic failures and the unpopularity of her administration’s key policies, a monthly opinion poll released yesterday found.

The poll by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation found that Tsai’s approval rating has dipped from 39.4 percent last month to 33.1 percent this month, her lowest rating since taking office in May last year, while her disapproval rating was 49.6 percent this month.

The approval rating for Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) Cabinet fell from 34 percent last month to 28.7 percent, and its disapproval rating rose from 58.1 percent to 61.1 percent, the highest in the monthly survey since December last year.

Tsai’s approach to cross-strait relations did not please 58.2 percent of respondents, the highest level since August last year, while 34.6 percent were satisfied with her approach.

The decline in Tsai’s approval rating is linked to a growing public perception that her policy of maintaining the cross-strait “status quo” is increasingly unviable, said former Tainan county commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“Tsai should define the ‘status quo’ in more clear terms, but she has not affirmed that Taiwan is an independent sovereign nation” since taking office, said Su, a lawyer who attended a news conference on the poll’s release in a private capacity.

The growing dissatisfaction with Tsai is bipartisan, as Taiwan-China unification supporters disapprove of her refusal to accept the so-called “1992 consensus” and Taiwanese independence supporters are increasingly unsatisfied with her lack of affirmation of Taiwan’s independence or self-determination, foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said.

Public dissatisfaction with Tsai has solidified over the past eight months and is likely to grow given the loss of diplomatic ties with Panama, the controversial Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and the Council of Grand Justices’ ruling on same-sex marriage, the foundation said.

While 47.6 percent of respondents said they were not worried about the loss of more diplomatic allies following Panama’s shift in diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China on June 12, 46.6 percent said they were.

Tsai’s handling of the Panama incident was rated as unsatisfactory by 53 percent of respondents, while 26.5 percent said they were satisfied, and 64 percent said they were not confident that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could maintain Taiwan’s international space.

Just 26.4 percent of respondents had confidence in the ministry to maintain Taiwan’s international space, and 64 percent said they were not confident.

Asked about pension reform, 41.7 percent of respondents said a proposal to phase out the 18 percent preferential savings rate for retired public service employees is well-paced, 31.9 percent said it is too slow and 14.6 percent said it is too fast.

A proposal to lower the income replacement ratio of public employees from 75 percent to 60 percent in 15 years would be too slow, according to 39.5 percent of respondents, while 36.2 percent thought it was well-paced, and 12.1 percent said it would be too fast.

A large majority of the respondents — 64.3 percent — thought the NT$420 billion (US$13.85 billion) budget for railway projects as part of the infrastructure development program should be suspended, while 21.4 percent said it should be passed immediately.

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