President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) credibility has hit a new low with more than 60 percent of respondents in a public opinion survey released yesterday saying he is an “over-packaged product.”
The public’s view of Ma’s integrity has dipped further with negative responses about his image increasing by up to 8.5 percentage points on the same survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research last year.
Ma’s latest 20.1 percent credibility rating was only slightly better than former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) at his worst mark of 17.7 percent, when Chen was embroiled in the 2006 corruption scandal. This is despite Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) enjoying a strong legislative majority and control of the executive branch.
In the poll, 62.9 percent of the respondents found Ma untrustworthy and 74.1 percent disapproved of his performance.
In a series of questions about Ma’s “brand image,” 63.9 percent of respondents said he was “over-packaged,” 58.8 percent said his abilities were “exaggerated” and 47 percent saw him as “an expired, deteriorating product.”
Numbers to the same questions in May last year increased by between 3.3 and 8.5 percentage points, showing that “Ma has become more unpopular,” a TISR press release showed.
With Ma being the only candidate in the KMT chairmanship election next week, 59.6 percent of respondents said his insistence on doubling as the president and KMT chairman was inappropriate, while 20.8 percent said it was appropriate and 19.6 percent declined to answer.
KMT supporters appeared to be struggling with Ma’s decision, TISR said, as a further breakdown found that 43.5 percent of the KMT supporters deemed it appropriate and 40.1 percent said otherwise.
However, the survey found that more than half of KMT supporters still opted to support Ma in the chairman election, with 53 percent saying that they would vote for him “to show KMT solidarity” and 33.2 percent saying that they preferred to cast invalid ballots “to warn Ma and give him a lesson.”
Asked whether his doubling as KMT chairman would help him fight corruption and rebuild the party’s image, 72.4 percent of those polled gave negative answers, while 12.6 percent was positive and 15.1 percent did not answer.
The poll, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, collected 1,005 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.