A public opinion poll has found that a majority of respondents disapprove of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pushing the cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature and do not understand his free economic pilot zones project.
The latest poll conducted by the pro-independence Taiwan Brain Trust found that 60.2 percent of respondents did not support Ma telling the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus to push for the passage of the controversial trade pact in the extra legislative session that begins tomorrow, the think tank said yesterday.
Ma had promised during the Sunflower movement protests that the pact would not be screened before a monitoring mechanism for cross-strait negotiations and agreements is established.
Most people appeared to have been skeptical about the free economic pilot zones project, which aims to serve as a model for business liberalization, with 85 percent of respondents saying that they did not understand the project well and 91.5 percent urging the government to clearly explain it to the public, think tank chairman Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said.
The president’s most recent approval rating was 21.6 percent and his disapproval rating was 66.7 percent, while the KMT’s disapproval rating was 63.6 percent and 35.4 percent of respondents said the party was their least favorite political party, Wu said.
Meanwhile, more than half of those polled (53.1 percent) said the Sunflower movement has had a positive impact on Taiwan’s future democratic development, which was interesting, given that Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) have said the protesters’ behavior was illegal and undemocratic, Wu said.
He said the most surprising finding of the survey was the high rate of support (75.1 percent) for drafting a new constitution.
The poll, which the think tank conducts quarterly, has questions on several basic issues regarding Taiwan’s identity, support for independence and support for unification.
The latest survey also found increasing grassroots awareness and support for a Taiwanese identity, especially among young people, think tank official said.
More than half (60.5 percent) of respondents identify themselves as Taiwanese — the highest level in the past five surveys since June last year — while those who identify themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese (32.8 percent) hit a new low, the poll found.
The percentage of those identifying themselves as Chinese remained very low (2.9 percent), the poll showed.
In comparison with the results of the March poll, the percentage of respondents identifying themselves as Taiwanese rose from 64.6 percent to 72.9 percent in the 20-29 age group and from 54.2 percent to 63.2 percent in the 30-39 age group.
Think tank founder Koo Kuan-ming (辜寬敏) said a close examination of the survey results showed that young Taiwanese are no longer uninterested in politics.
Young people also believe that “Ma’s authoritarianism under the disguise of democracy is so unbearable that they will do whatever is necessary to fight it,” Koo said.
The survey was conducted between Thursday and Saturday last week. A total of 1,072 valid samples were collected and the poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.