Many fear economy may become like Greece’s: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - Page 3

A public opinion poll published yesterday found that the majority of respondents were concerned that Taiwan’s fiscal problems could lead the nation to face an economic crisis similar to Greece’s and felt pessimistic about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pension reforms.

Asked if they were concerned that the nation’s debt crisis could turn it into another Greece, 70.7 percent of the respondents said yes, a survey conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank from Wednesday to Friday showed.

In addition, 72.9 percent of those polled said the holding of a national affairs conference, as proposed by the opposition parties, was necessary to address the gravity of the fiscal issues.

Only 24.6 percent of the respondents said they were not worried about possible “Hellenization,” said Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), convener of the think tank’s survey team, at a press conference yesterday.

The survey also found that 67.6 percent of those questioned had no confidence in Ma’s pledge to submit a complete plan on pension reform in January that would improve the nation’s finances, compared with 18.2 percent who said they felt confident about the promise.

The average age of retirement among the survey’s participants was 58.5 years and the average expected monthly pension for an affordable retirement life was NT$28,602.

Ma’s disapproval rating was at its lowest — 70.5 percent — since the thinktank began to conduct the monthly surveys in March, the poll showed, despite his approval rating of 21.1 percent being slightly up from last month’s 19.3 percent.

The poll also showed that most people did not oppose Ma’s “bumbler” tag, given by UK-based weekly magazine The Economist recently and which led to much controversy.

Asked about the article and the term “bumbler” — whose translation was the subject of debate in local media — 57.1 of the respondents said it meant Ma was “indecisive,” 18.3 percent said it mean the president was “stupid” and 7.2 percent said it meant both.

Most of those polled — 74.9 percent — did agree on one thing: The report has seriously damaged Taiwan’s international image.

On the elections in special municipalities, cities and counties in 2014, the poll found that 33.9 percent of respondents supported the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while 22.6 percent were for the Chinese Nationalist Party and 43.5 percent were undecided.

The DPP’s increased exchanges with Beijing were approved by 57.1 percent of survey participants, while 23.4 percent disapproved.

While most of those surveyed agreed with the party’s drive to better understand China and 67.2 percent said they were aware of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress, the poll found that 63 percent either did not know who Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) was, or could not name his position.

The poll collected 1,072 samples and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.