President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rate slipped from 38.5 percent in March to 24.7 percent this month, and at least 61 percent of respondents in a survey said he should focus on his work as president and not double as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), according to a Taiwan Thinktank poll released yesterday.
Only 19.4 percent of respondents said Ma should continue serving as party chairman, it said.
The survey showed that if Ma were to step down as KMT chairman, 37.7 percent of respondents would support Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) taking over the position, while 21.7 percent favored New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), 12.5 percent were for Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and 8.7 percent picked vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
Ma should carefully consider the option of stepping down as party chairperson and focus on running the country, former Mainland Affairs Council chairman and representative to the US Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said.
Ma’s deteriorating image and administration have only added to the suffering of the people and the nation, he said.
Wang has a better emotional quotient than Ma, who only uses his “own people” and then refuses to take responsibility, Wu said, adding that the president should reflect on his actions and style of conducting business.
The Taiwan Thinktank survey also conducted its first-ever poll on the president’s leadership abilities, with Ma receiving an overall score of 41.7 points. On a scale of 0 to 10, Ma’s highest score was for rectitude, garnering 5.84 points.
He scored below 5 in all other categories.
Ma scored 4.98 on honesty, 3.5 on popularity, 4.23 on capability, 4.13 on use of personnel, 3.63 on the economy, 3.53 on overall policies, 3.91 on reform and 3.66 on power of persuasion, the survey showed.
Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), convener of Taiwan Thinktanks’ survey division, said the president’s lowest score was on popular support, which he said showed that people felt that Ma did not understand what the public needs.
Ma’s rating on overall policies also showed that his policies were not attuned to public demands, Hsu said.
The low score on the economy is the “soft underbelly” of the Ma administration, he added.
The survey also showed that among the nation’s three directly elected presidents, Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was held in the highest regard by the general public in terms of promoting economic development, democratic reforms and Taiwan’s international profile.
A total of 50.8 percent of respondents regarded Lee as contributing the most to Taiwan’s economic development, while 22.1 percent thought Ma did the most and 9.1 percent picked former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
On contribution to democratic reforms, Chen received a low score after being imprisoned on corruption charges, but Ma had roughly the same score as Chen, which Hsu said meant Ma should reflect on his actions.
Wu, who served under the Chen administration, said Chen had made great contributions to democratic reforms and promoting international recognition of Taiwan, but most pan-green supporters probably chose Lee, resulting in Chen’s low rating in the survey.
Future surveys could compare presidents one on one over certain issues and give a general analysis so that such a survey would yield more precise results, he said.