A new opinion poll by the Taiwan Thinktank shows that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating has hit a new low amid widespread opposition to his plan to revise the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) charter so that a sitting president from the party automatically becomes the party chairman.
The think tank said yesterday that almost two in three respondents, or 65.7 percent, said they disagreed with the planned revision of the KMT charter, which is to be voted on tomorrow, and 65.1 percent said Ma, who is the current KMT chairman, should be held accountable if the party loses next year’s seven-in-one municipal elections.
While Ma has called the charter revision a “sacrifice” because it means his current four-year term as chairman could be cut short, “it is, in fact, Ma’s attempt to shun his responsibility for a potential loss in the elections,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told a press conference organized by the think tank.
The poll, conducted from Tuesday to Thursday, found that just 15.5 percent of respondents approved of Ma’s performance, the lowest since the think tank began conducting a bi-monthly poll in March last year. His disapproval rating also hit a record high of 75.9 percent.
Ma’s unpopular policies and poor credibility were obvious the respondents, with 70.5 percent disagreeing with his description of the cross-strait relations as“not international relations,” 80.2 percent saying he does not have the ability to keep Taiwan’s GDP above 2 percent and 90.3 percent saying they have no confidence in the government’s capability to improve food safety.
Meanwhile, Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) honeymoon period also seems to be over, as both his approval rating, 19.5 percent, and disapproval rating, 62.3 percent, were the worst since his inauguration in February.
“It seems to me that people have come to realize what kind of politician Jiang, a former academic of high acclaim, is,” Soochow University professor Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.
Opinions on cross-strait policies and developments were more divided.
Asked if they were worried about Taiwan being unified with China, 50.8 percent said yes, while 45.3 percent said no, with 3.9 percent declining to give an answer.
Asked if they support Ma conducting political negotiations with Beijing before his current term ends, 41.8 percent were supportive of the idea, while 45.1 percent disagreed. However, 67.9 percent of those polled said a national referendum must be held before such negotiations take place, with only 22.9 percent saying a referendum was not necessary.
Most respondents said officials involved in recent controversies should step down, with 67.6 percent calling for Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) to resign over his role in the wiretapping of the legislature and 70.9 percent urging Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) to resign for his inability to manage the food safety crisis.
The survey collected 1,074 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.