Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Most people in the dark on economic platforms: poll

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Although improving the economy has been one of the main themes of the presidential campaign, a great majority of the electorate are unaware of the economic policies of the two presidential candidates, a survey released yesterday showed.

Taiwan Thinktank, which conducted the survey, said 72.9 percent of respondents did not know about the economic platform of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷 ).

Meanwhile, as much as 91.8 percent said they had no idea about the economic policies of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), other than that he advocates a further opening of cross-strait trade.

Taiwan Thinktank conducted the survey on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. A total of 1,087 samples were collected with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

Asked if direct postal, trade and transportation links -- commonly known as the three links -- between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were pivotal to promoting cross-strait economic development, 50 percent said they were, while 35.7 percent said they were not.

On whether a further opening of cross-strait relations would bring about substantial improvement to their personal financial situation, 31.3 percent answered in the affirmative, while 54.8 percent did not.

Hsieh's advocacy of "mitigating the burden on youth by helping them buy houses, including building public housing complexes for young people" received 71 percent support, compared to 15.8 percent who disapproved.

His proposal of "normalizing cross-strait charter flights to avoid disputes over whether they should be considered domestic or international routes" received the support of 57.9 percent of respondents, compared to 18 percent who expressed opposition.

At present, charter flights across the Taiwan Strait are only available for four holidays -- Lunar New Year, Tombsweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Asked whose economic policies -- Hsieh's or Ma's -- would be best for Taiwanese, 29.8 percent said Hsieh's were better, against 30.2 percent for Ma's. Forty percent refused to answer.

Asked about their attitude if Taiwan cooperated with China and saw an economic turnaround without having to accept Beijing's "one China" principle, 60.7 percent said they would be opposed, compared to 24.4 percent who said they would be in favor.

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