More than 80 percent of the public approved of the government’s emergency response and disaster relief measures following the Feb. 6 earthquake in Hualien, with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating passing 50 percent, the results of a poll conducted by the Taiwan NextGen Foundation (formerly known as the Taiwan Style Foundation) showed yesterday.
The government’s emergency response following the earthquake that caused the deaths of 16 people, with one missing and presumed dead, was swift, according to 80.3 percent of the respondents, with only 9.6 percent saying that the response was slow.
An overwhelming 82.9 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the government’s search-and-rescue and disaster relief measures, while only 9.1 percent were dissatisfied.
Photo: Liao Chen-hui, Taipei Times
Respondents were first asked about their perception of Tsai’s performance before being asked about their impression of the government’s emergency response, the foundation said.
Tsai’s performance was satisfying to 51.2 percent of the respondents, but dissatisfying to 39.4 percent. More than 65 percent of pan-green respondents approved of Tsai, while more than 67 percent of pan-blue respondents disapproved of her.
While 57.2 percent of the respondents said they supported Tsai, 32.7 percent said they did not. More than 77 percent of pan-green respondents supported the president, while more than 57 percent of pan-blue respondents did not.
The poll showed that Tsai’s approval rating has risen to 54 percent overall and 51 percent in eastern Taiwan.
While 73.4 percent of the respondents approved of Tsai’s response to the disaster, 17.1 percent disapproved. Although pan-blue respondents were less satisfied with the president’s performance, more than 55 percent still approved.
Tsai’s pledge to build social housing units to accommodate people displaced by the earthquake was approved by 85.7 percent, and only 7.3 percent disapproved.
The rally in Tsai’s approval rating was due to the public’s overall approval of the government’s response to the disaster, Cross-Strait Policy Association president Stephen Tan (譚耀南) said.
“As long as the government contributes and performs well, the public gives it the recognition,” Tan said.
The overwhelming approval shown by the public for the government’s response to the disaster matches the feelings of foundation members involved in the search and rescue, with Premier William Lai (賴清德) asking them to help build an emergency support system to prevent the tilted Yun Men Tsui Ti (雲門翠堤) commercial and residential complex from fully collapsing, Taiwan Professional Civil Engineers Association member Lai Chien-hung (賴建宏) said.
Asked which country showed the most support to Taiwan following the earthquake, 75.8 percent of respondents chose Japan, followed by China with 1.8 percent, Singapore with 0.8 percent, the US with 0.6 percent and South Korea with 0.3 percent.
China skirting Tsai’s administration and directly contacting the Hualien County Government to provide disaster relief was clearly politically motivated, DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said.
“The public is very discerning. They knew what [China] had in mind,” Yao said. “The Chinese government keeps boasting of its ‘cross-strait family’ idea, but it failed to offer any tangible support.”
The survey was conducted on Friday and Saturday last week and collected 1,076 valid samples with a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.
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