Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a poll by the Democratic Progressive Party support the student protesters’ demands for a renegotiation of the cross-strait service trade agreement, and more than half said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should take responsibility for the current turmoil.
The survey, conducted on Tuesday, found that 71.6 percent of respondents supported the students, who have been occupying the legislative floor since March 18 and demanding that the controversial agreement be shelved and negotiations with China be restarted.
Asked who or what insitution should bear responsibility for the turmoil, 58 percent said it was Ma, while the government and protesting students tied at a very distant second place with 3.8 percent each.
Those who thought that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), the Legislative Yuan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, DPP lawmakers or Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) should be held responsible ranged between 1.2 and 2.9 percent.
“It’s unusual to see such a lopsided result in a survey on social issues. The results clearly show mainstream public opinion on the issue,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
Public opinion on another key issue — the government’s handling of the eviction of protesters at the Executive Yuan on Monday — was also clear, with 83.3 percent saying that they were not happy with the police crackdown.
Meanwhile, 61.5 percent of respondents said the government should make concessions to the students, with only 18.2 percent saying the opposite and 20.2 percent not giving an answer.
Although support for the students’ occupation of the legislative floor was not as lopsided, there were still 55.6 percent who agreed with the action, while 37.2 percent disagreed and 7.2 percent gave no answer.
The student movement may also have been successful in raising public awareness, with 67 percent of respondents saying they know more about the service trade pact now than before.
The survey also found that 69 percent of respondents said that the student movement would have a positive impact on the nation’s future development.
The survey collected 916 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.31 percentage points.