Approval for Tsai and Lai hits new low

COLD FEELINGS::Poll results showed that respondents feel the warmest toward Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and the coldest toward Premier William Lai and President Tsai Ing-wen

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 3

A Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation poll has shown that the approval ratings for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier William Lai (賴清德) hit a new low following last month’s nine-in-one elections, foundation chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday, adding that if he were elected party chairman, he would make sure the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) understood what the public wants and met the needs of Taiwanese.

The poll, conducted last week, showed that Tsai’s approval rating dropped from 28.5 percent last month to 24.3 percent this month, while Lai’s slid from 38.9 percent last month to 37.1 percent this month, You told a news conference in Taipei.

Their approval ratings are the lowest since taking office, You said.

Asked whether they approve of Tsai’s handling of cross-strait relations, 25.3 percent of the respondents said they did, compared with 65.7 percent who said they did not, he added.

The poll asked respondents to rate the warmth of their feelings toward Tsai and Lai — as well as Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung mayoral-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and New Taipei City mayor-elect Hou You-yi (侯友宜) — on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the coldest and 100 the warmest.

The results showed that respondents feel the warmest toward Ko, who received an average rating of 65.81 percent, followed by Han (62.12 percent) and Hou (59.79 percent), and the coldest toward Lai (53.81 percent) and Tsai (42.98 percent).

The poll showed that 27.5 percent of the respondents support the DPP, while 35.6 percent support the KMT and 32 percent reported being independent or politically neutral.

“The results show that the KMT has fully recovered from its bruising defeat in the 2016 [legislative and presidential] elections, while the DPP has slid back to where it was 10 years ago,” You said.

If he were elected DPP chairman, he would “ensure that the party and government sufficiently understood public opinion” so that they could “quickly meet people’s needs and expectations,” You said, adding that Tsai’s biggest mistake was being “blind” to public opinion.

He would also rebuild the party’s image, change its policy priorities and decisionmaking styles, he said.

“The party’s ideology and ways of handling cross-strait relations must evolve with time,” You said.

Tsai’s “status quo” policy makes people fearful and anxious when cross-strait tensions mount, he added.

“I believe the party should hold debates on cross-strait relations so that members can share their concerns, feelings and constructive feedback, which, as an initial step, would definitely bring about positive change,” he said.

The telephone-based poll was based on 1,082 valid samples collected on Monday and Tuesday last week, with responses weighted to fit the population profile. It has a margin of error of 2.98 percentage points.