Sat, Aug 11, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese independence more popular, survey says

GROWING SENSE OF IDENTITY:The latest poll shows the highest level of support that the idea of gradual independence has seen in the survey’s six-year history

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The results of a survey released yesterday show that the rate of support for eventual Taiwanese independence stands at 55.4 percent, up six percentage points from a year ago and the highest since similar polls were conducted in 2006.

In a survey conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR), 55.4 percent of the respondents said they prefered eventual independence, while 29.9 percent said they did not support the idea.

The rate of support increased by 6.1 percentage points from a similar poll undertaken in April last year, which showed a support rate of 49.3 percent. The latest poll shows the highest support for independence of the 11 polls that were conducted between Feb. 2006 and the present.

In the interim, support rates for eventual independence reached a high of 51.4 percent and hit a low of 42.1 percent in Dec. 2009, TISR general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said in a press release, adding that the growth in support over the past year was notable.

A breakdown of respondents’ political affiliations found that 76.8 percent of pan-green supporters said independence was preferable, while 29.9 percent disagreed. Among pan-blue supporters, 40.7 percent would like to see Taiwan develop as a new and independent nation and 49.8 percent would not.

Support rates for eventual unification with China remained steady, with 18.6 percent of those polled supporting the concept and 66.6 percent opposing the idea.

Over the past six years, support for eventual unification hit a 28.7 percent high in Feb. 2006, but was never able to regain strength as an idea, according to data provided by the TISR.

Meanwhile, 36.1 percent of respondents said a unified country — named neither the People’s Republic of China nor the Republic of China — would be acceptable, while 45.8 percent did not favor the development.

However, younger generations tended to disapprove of the arrangement, Tai said, with 62.3 percent of those aged 20-29 and 53.6 percent of the 30-39 age group saying the “two sides, one country” option is unacceptable.

More respondents said that China’s rise as a superpower would be negative rather than positive for Taiwan’s economic development: 44.8 percent said it would have an adverse effect on Taiwan, while 37.2 percent said it would be positive.

Additionally, 59.6 percent of those polled — including more than 70 percent of the 20-39 age group — said they would like to see China increase its exchanges with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while 19.4 percent disapproved.

In a question which asked which political party would help Taiwan more through additional cross-strait exchanges, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) remained the respondents’ top choice at 46.7 percent, with the DPP following at 30.7 percent.

The poll, which was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, collected 1,009 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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