Although their stances on the independence-versus-unification issue remain generally unchanged, Taiwanese are increasingly concerned about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China policy, according to the latest survey released by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).
The survey was conducted by the National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9 at the request of the council, which has for years monitored public opinion on the current pace of cross-strait exchanges and the independence-unification issue through telephone-based polls.
When asked whether they perceived the current pace of cross-strait exchanges to be too fast, too slow or moderate, a slight majority, or 37.1 percent, of respondents said the pace was just right, while 15.8 percent said it was “too slow.”
However, 36.3 percent of those polled — the highest percentage reported in three years — said the pace was “too rapid,” up about 8 percentage points from August last year.
Meanwhile, a steady decline has been seen in the percentage of respondents saying that the pace is moderate, which stood at about 40 percent in previous surveys.
Some observers have attributed the downward trend to the Ma administration’s perceived arbitrary approach in pushing for the passage of the highly controversial cross-strait service trade agreement it signed on June 21.
The pact, which is still pending approval by the legislature, has been described by opposition lawmakers as a “back-room deal” between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as only a handful of representatives of the 64 Taiwanese industries affected by the treaty were consulted in advance.
The Ma administration has repeatedly rejected calls from representatives of concerned Taiwanese workers to renegotiate the agreement with China.
Meanwhile, 56.8 percent of respondents said they considered China’s attitude toward Taiwan to be “unfriendly,” the second-highest rate recorded since Ma assumed office in May 2008, compared with only 26.6 percent who thought China was “friendly.”
As for cross-strait relations, only about 11 percent of respondents said they would prefer unification with China, including 2.3 percent who favored immediate unification and 8.3 percent who supported the so-called “status quo” now and unification later.
The mainstream public opinion still leaned toward “the status quo” and “no unification,” as a majority — or 33.7 percent — of respondents wanted to “retain the status quo now and decide either unification or independence later,” followed by those who preferred maintaining the “status quo” permanently (24.1 percent) and those who supported continuing the “status quo” at present and announcing independence in the future (18.5 percent).
About 7 percent of respondents favored immediate independence, while 6.1 percent said they had no opinion.
The survey collected 1,073 valid samples and had a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.