Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Workers unhappy with political situation: survey

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

An overwhelming majority of local wage earners responding to an online opinion survey are disgruntled with Taiwan's polarized political environment, pollsters said yesterday.

Nearly 86 percent of respondents expressed discontent with the division of Taiwanese into two groups in terms of political ideology. More than 60 percent said they believe that political rallies are not conducive to social stability, according to the findings of the poll.

The 1111 Job Bank conducted the survey from Sept. 11-19 to explore local salaried people's feelings about the confrontation between President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) supporters and opponents.

The survey began two days after the start of a round-the-clock mass sit-in on Ketagalan Boulevard to pressure Chen to step down over corruption allegations.

The open-ended anti-Chen campaign has provoked various responses by Chen's supporters, including street protests.

Against this backdrop, a 1111 Job Bank spokesman said the company's online survey served to gauge the impact of the turmoil over Chen's presidency on the everyday life of the ``silent majority'' of wage earners. The poll collected 1,253 valid samples.

Asked about their feelings about the division of local people into anti-Chen/pro-Chen or pro-blue/pro-green camps, 85.87 percent said they were dissatisfied with the dichotomy; 10.45 percent said they had no special feelings about such a categorization and only 3.68 percent said they were comfortable with the division.

A cross analysis of the survey results showed that female wage earners are more discontented with the political atmosphere than their male counterparts. In terms of education, college and university graduates are most dissatisfied with the situation.

Although the ongoing "depose Chen" sit-in has drawn thousands of participants in Taipei, 50.68 percent of the respondents said they would not take part in the demonstration; 33.92 percent said it depends on the situation; and 15.4 percent said they would participate.

An in-depth analysis showed that men are more likely to take part in the sit-in than women, and those with master's or doctoral degrees are far more inclined to participate than those with only bachelor's degrees or senior high school education.

On calls for a general strike to increase pressure on Chen, 74.06 percent gave a thumbs-down to the proposal, compared to 22.82 percent who voiced support for it.

Asked about their views on television footage showing students joining the sit-in, 52.19 percent said they were opposed to student participation in the event, while 42.3 percent thought otherwise.

Meanwhile, many respondents said intensive media coverage of the sit-in protests and rallies had significantly reduced their viewing choices concerning news reports.

They were also prompted to avoid political topics in conversation with friends and relatives for fear of squabbling.

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