Nearly 60 percent of the public are dissatisfied with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, and President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating has fallen to the second-lowest point in her presidency, a monthly survey released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed.
About 59 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the performance of the DPP administration, which controls both the executive and legislative branches, while 35 percent said they approve.
Public dissatisfaction is evident even among DPP supporters, with 30 percent saying they are unhappy with the administration, compared with 74 percent among politically neutral respondents and 90 percent among Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Respondents who approve of Tsai’s handling of state affairs rose 1 percentage point from last month to 38.6 percent, while the number of those who disapprove increased 3.5 percentage points from last month to 46 percent.
Tsai’s approval rating has dropped by 31.3 percentage points since May last year, and her disapproval rating is the second-lowest of her presidency, foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said.
About 33 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with the performance of Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) Cabinet, up 1.2 percentage points from last month, and 53.9 percent said they are dissatisfied, up 4.5 percentage points from last month.
“The ability to win constituencies north of the Jhuoshuei River is the key to the DPP winning the general elections, but the party’s support has retreated back south of the river,” former DPP deputy secretary-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) said.
“The DPP’s disapproval rating has exceeded its approval rating in the party’s strongholds of Pingtung — Tsai’s hometown — and Kaohsiung, suggesting a major crisis for the DPP administration,” Lee said. “Tsai’s administration was expected to ease ethnic tensions, but it did not. The nation is still polarized along ethical and political lines.”
The DPP’s approval rating is low among those aged 35 to 64 — averaging about 31.66 percent — amid concern over the party’s move to tackle vested interests, Lee said, referring to the administration’s ongoing pension reform efforts.
To revive its flagging approval rating, the party has to make adjustments in terms of Cabinet appointments and policymaking, such as a swift overhaul of the controversial five-day workweek law, Lee said.
Meanwhile, 56 percent of respondents agree that the government should take a tougher stance against Beijing’s detention of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) on unknown charges, while 26.4 percent disagree.
Respondents who agree that the government was forced to take a passive stance in the case because Beijing was “too barbaric” reached 43 percent, while 47.6 percent disagree.
About 52 percent said it would damage cross-strait relations should Lee’s detention continue, and 32.6 percent said it would not.
The poll also found that 44.4 percent of respondents have a positive view of government officials, while 47.1 percent have a negative view of them.
Judges are the most unfavorably perceived among public professions covered by the poll — including prosecutors, tax officials, military personnel, the police and intelligence agents — as 65.3 percent of respondents said they have a negative view of judges, and only 24.5 percent said they have a positive view.
Shih Hsin University journalism professor Peng Huai-en (彭懷恩) said that public distrust of judges lies in the way they are trained and recruited, as prospective judges are not required to have practical legal experience prior to their appointment, resulting in the so-called “dinosaur judges” who seem to be detached from society.
The survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday last week, with 1,082 valid samples collected. It had a margin of error of 2.98 percentage points.