Wed, Apr 01, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Survey finds 83% of Taipei residents happy with Ko

HONEYMOON NOT OVER:One KMT city councilor described Ko’s approval ratings as ‘frightening,’ while the DPP caucus whip said Ko had ‘picked the right battles’

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) approval ratings remain high as he approaches 100 days in office, according to a poll conducted by Ming Chuan University.

More than 83 percent of residents surveyed were satisfied with Ko’s performance in poll results announced yesterday. A nearly unanimous 98 percent of pan-green camp voters were satisfied with Ko’s performance, compared with 70 percent of pan-blue voters.

In addition to overall approval ratings, the poll also surveyed city residents’ views of Ko’s performance on several prominent issues, with 87 percent of residents approving his handling of the removal or “improvement” of 226 cases of illegal construction and 79 percent approving his attitude in dealing with large corporations involved in city construction projects such as the Taipei Dome. Seventy-three percent of respondents approved of his pushing for affordable public housing, while 53 percent approved of his “frank” way of expressing himself.

The survey results drew a variety of reactions from Taipei city councilors.

Taipei City Councilor Wu Shih-cheng (吳世政) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said Ko’s approval ratings were “frightening,” demonstrating that the “Ko Wen-je phenomenon” was a “tornado” ripping through Taipei’s political landscape.

He said Ko, an independent, had grasped the implications of the digital age more fully than the KMT, laying out and implementing policies closely reflecting online opinion, while swiftly changing course in response to criticism.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) city council caucus whip Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said she was “not at all surprised” by the results, given Ko’s status as a new “political star” still in his “honeymoon period” — before this year’s city council session opens on April 13.

“So far, the issues Ko has addressed have synced with the expectations of city residents toward the new administration,” she said, adding that Ko had “picked the right battles” in taking on corporations and back-door dealing, because these issues could attract support across the political spectrum.

However, with the result of investigations and negotiations over controversial city construction projects unclear and no budget yet approved for his new policies, Ko’s performance so far was “a lot of thunder with little rainfall,” she said, adding that city councilors across the political spectrum were “whetting their knives” to take a stab at Ko’s proposals.

“Ko faces the challenge of coming up with a stable majority coalition within the city council,” she said, adding that his ability to mobilize the city government’s bureaucracy to support his policies also remained unclear.

The DPP holds 27 of the council’s 63 seats, compared with 28 seats held by the KMT. Small party and independent councilors hold the balance.

The Ming Chuan University survey was conducted using random dialing and had an effective sample of 1,084 residents over the age of 20. It had a margin of error of 2.97 percentage points.

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