Support for Tsai’s re-election low: KMT poll

By Shih Hsiao-kuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 3

Most people do not favor President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) running for re-election, with barely a third supporting her election for a second term, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation said yesterday.

A foundation survey conducted from May 7 to Tuesday showed that Tsai’s disapproval rating outweighed her approval rating at 56 percent to 38.3 percent.

Moreover, only 29.8 percent of respondents were supportive of her second-term bid, while 52.8 percent were opposed, the poll showed.

“Tsai’s presidency has been autocratic, arrogant and incompetent, and our presidential approval poll shows that her path to being re-elected would be a difficult one,” foundation chief executive officer Kao Yuang-kuang (高永光) said. “Tsai could well become the first single-term Taiwanese president since the presidency became a directly elected office in 1996.”

Tsai’s approval rating has been consistently lower than most of her predecessors, including Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who commanded an approval rating of about 40 percent in the early part of his second term, he said.

While former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), of the KMT, maintained an approval of 23 percent during his re-election, the public had been more supportive of his campaign than Tsai’s, showing a disconnect between public approval and voting behavior at the time, he said.

However, public disapproval of Tsai’s performance and opposition to her re-election are nearly identical in the poll, indicating a direct correlation, he said.

A public backlash against the Tsai administration’s “attack” on institutions and the unpopularity of her policies are the main reasons for her low approval rating, Kao said, citing pension reform and the Control Yuan’s censuring of prosecutors as examples.

Tsai could have asked the Council of Grand Justices to decide whether its legalization of same-sex marriage in 2017 should take precedence over the passage of a referendum in November last year, when a majority voted in favor of retaining the Civil Code’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, he said.

Instead, Tsai forced the legalization of same-sex marriage through the legislature yesterday, he added.

“At the moment, the Democratic Progressive Party looks more like the undemocratically regressive party,” Kao said.

“A sign of Tsai’s weakness is former premier William Lai’s (賴清德) campaign for presidential nomination, which has survived despite Tsai’s best efforts to bury it,” Taipei City Councilor Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said.