President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will face an uphill battle in his re-election bid as poll numbers remain stagnant and support for his policies are sagging, Taiwan Thinktank told a press conference yesterday.
With the third anniversary of the Ma administration on Friday, the think tank said “most people” had identified serious problems in the past three years, including a widening wealth gap and skyrocketing housing prices.
Data by the organization showed that 55.6 percent of the 1,078 respondents polled nationwide on Sunday and Monday disapproved of the Ma administration overall, against 39.3 percent who approved. More also said they supported his Democratic Progressive Party opponent, chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), although the numbers remained within the margin of error.
Ma took 40.6 percent support against Tsai’s 41.3 percent, results that were in line with other recent media polls.
“The results tell us that the public is cool to the Ma administration’s policies,” Taiwan Thinktank executive director Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said. “In the past three years, the public has felt a sense of loss amid a rising wealth gap, falling salaries and rapidly increasing prices.”
The study also showed that Ma will have a hard time convincing voters on the merits of the recently passed luxury tax bill as respondents also felt that economic pressures in the past three years have grown.
Slightly more than 52 percent of respondents — predominantly those in central and southern Taiwan — do not believe the luxury tax will help curb rising housing prices. More than half, or 53.5 percent, of respondents also said that economic pressures had increased since 2008.
“Ma’s biggest challenge will be domestic rather than international,” said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a political scientist at Soochow University, adding that Taiwan was an example of a country that has seen its resources distributed more unfairly since the global financial crisis.
On the recent WHO naming controversy, the poll showed that 53.5 percent of respondents were unsatisfied with the government’s official response. More also believed that Tsai would better protect Taiwan’s sovereignty, at 43.3 percent against 30.2 percent for Ma.
The survey had a margin of error of 3 percent, 19 times out of 20.