About 54 percent of Taiwanese would still vote for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) if they were given the chance to recast their ballots in the Jan. 16 presidential election, with a similar percentage of people expressing satisfaction with her performance, according to a survey released by the Taiwan Style Foundation yesterday.
The telephone-based poll, conducted on Thursday and Friday last week among people aged 20 and above, sought to gauge the public’s evaluation of Tsai’s and Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) performance as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government is set to mark its 100th day in office.
Asked which of the three presidential candidates in the January race would they vote for if they were given a second chance, 53.8 percent of respondents chose Tsai, followed by 16.9 percent who favored former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) and 14.2 percent who supported People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).
In the Jan. 16 election, Tsai garnered 56.1 percent of the votes, while Chu and Soong received 31 percent and 12.8 percent respectively.
Of those polled, 53 percent said they were content with Tsai’s performance, compared with 41.2 percent who thought otherwise, while the respondents seemed divided on Lin’s performance, with 44.5 percent approving of his work and 45 percent disapproving.
When asked to select one or more from a list of eight words or phrases that they believed best described Tsai, 72.7 percent of respondents chose “integrity.”
About 63 percent selected “trustworthy,” followed by “reformative” (57.8 percent), “leadership” (56.4 percent), “defender of Taiwanese interests when dealing with cross-strait affairs” (55.6 percent), and “bold and resolute in action” (48.9 percent), the survey showed.
As for what policies they believed the Tsai administration has put the most effort into over the past three months, 59.6 percent of those surveyed said it was pension reform, while others thought it was transitional justice (55.6 percent), labor rights (55.5 percent), judicial reform (51.3 percent) and the “new southbound policy” (49.7 percent).
Most respondents thought that maintaining cross-strait ties was the government’s least priority, with only 42.7 percent saying the matter had received Tsai’s top attention, the survey indicated.
Despite the recent drop in Tsai’s recent approval ratings, the poll found that as much as 61 percent still have confidence in Tsai’s future performance, while 33.1 percent said they did not have faith in the president.
About 55 percent said Tsai was steering Taiwan into the right direction, while 21.8 percent expressed an opposite opinion.
While 44 percent of respondents rated the DPP government better than the previous KMT administration, a cross-analysis showed that 40.4 percent of those identified as independent voters thought the two parties fared similarly.
The survey collected 1,071 valid samples. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.
DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said the poll serves as an indicator that the public recognizes Tsai’s policy direction and her administration’s efforts in pushing for reforms.
“Nevertheless, the percentage difference between the number of respondents satisfied with Tsai’s performance and those who would still vote for Tsai suggests that the government’s pace of reforms might be lagging behind the public’s expectations,” Lo said.