Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma approval ratings hit new low point, poll shows

SOUL SEARCHING A Presidential Office spokesman said that the government would take a humble look at its current performance and improve

STAFF WRITER

The public is becoming frustrated with the government two months after the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), a poll released by the Chinese-language United Evening News suggested yesterday.

The newspaper, which is sympathetic to the pan-blue camp, reported that the percentage of people unhappy with the performance of Ma and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) had surpassed the percentage of those satisfied with the administration.

The survey, conducted on Thursday with 830 respondents aged 20 and older, found that 41 percent were dissatisfied with Ma and the premier, while 35 percent were satisfied.

In a survey conducted by the newspaper last month, 43 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the administration, while 33 percent were not.

Thursday’s survey also found that 43 percent questioned Ma’s leadership of the administration, while 37 percent approved of his leadership.

When approached for comment, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that the president was open to public opinion.

“We will take a humble look at our [performance] and improve,” Wang said.

The United Evening News survey followed other polls in recent days that suggested Ma’s approval ratings have declined.

Cable station TVBS made a poll public on Thursday that ranked Ma as seventh among 10 prominent political figures in terms of public approval ratings — down from the top slot in a poll last August — while DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ranked first.

Separately, a recent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) poll found that disapproval ratings for Ma and Liu had climbed to 56 percent since Ma’s May 20 inauguration.

Commenting on the ratings, Tsai yesterday said that ups and downs in opinion polls were temporary and only to be expected.

The most important thing is for politicians to learn something from a drop in approval ratings, she said.

The public still have faith in the DPP, and the 5.44 million voters who voted for the DPP’s candidate in the March 22 presidential election remain firm supporters, she said.

Following a series of meetings recently with grassroots supporters and party officials, Tsai said she felt strongly that the DPP’s backers had not abandoned the party.

The party’s supporters want to see the party recover, she said.

A report in the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday said that Tsai, in a letter to party staff, on Thursday encouraged all DPP personnel to “get back on their feet” in the face of challenging times.

“As long as we can get through this period, we will certainly stage a comeback,” Tsai was quoted as saying.

The DPP will regain its strength as a party willing to fight for its cause, she reportedly said.

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