TSAI ING-WEN: THREE YEARS: Survey puts president’s approval rating at 41%

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, May 21, 2019 - Page 3

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating is 41 percent, while 57 percent approved of her performance in protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty, a Cross-Strait Policy Association survey showed yesterday, the third anniversary her inauguration.

The survey showed that 53.2 percent of respondents disapproved of Tsai’s general performance in the past three years and 5.8 percent were undecided or did not answer, while 36.6 percent disapproved of her protection of national sovereignty, with 6.7 percent undecided or not answering.

Asked about Tsai’s efforts to counter false news reports, 56.6 percent approved, 29.6 percent disapproved and 13.7 percent were undecided or did not answer.

The survey asked people about their opinion of China’s attitude toward Taiwan after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Jan. 2 introduced his “five conditions” in a speech touted by Beijing as the “guiding principles for a new era of China-Taiwan policy.” The survey showed that 59.9 percent disapproved, 15.6 percent approved and 24.5 percent were undecided or did not answer.

“Tsai takes a tough stance on cross-strait relations, but with some moderation to avoid creating more conflict, so she has received a positive evaluation,” National Taiwan Normal University professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said.

With Xi promoting the “one county, two systems” formula as a model for unification, Tsai was the only politician who took a firm and persistent stance against it, which earned recognition from Taiwanese, Fan said.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau’s proposed amendments to the territory’s Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which would allow Hong Kong suspects to be extradited to China, has sparked fear among Taiwanese, so more people hope that the government maintains its tough stance to protect the nation’s sovereignty, Fan said.

Disapproval of Tsai’s general performance is mostly due to her internal affairs policies, association deputy secretary-general Lin Ting-hui (林廷輝) said.

While people used the metaphor “accidentally picked up a gun” to describe Tsai’s quick response to Xi’s speech, it shows that her administration “had prepared a gun,” Lin said.

If next year’s presidential election is focused on cross-strait relations, Tsai’s high approval rating on this issue would likely reflect in voting, Lin said.

The telephone survey was conducted on Thursday and Friday last week, collecting data from 1,069 people aged 20 or above. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and margin of error of 3 percentage points.