Half of Taiwanese support independence, according to the results of a poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, which also found that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) support rating fell by 7 percentage points.
Fifty percent of respondents supported independence, 25.7 percent supported maintaining the “status quo” and 11.8 percent supported unification, while 12.1 percent had no opinion, did not know or refused to answer, the foundation said.
Support for independence is the new mainstream opinion, regardless of which party is in power, foundation chairman Michael You (游盈隆) said.
Photo: Tien Su-hua, Taipei Times
Insinuations that Taiwan wants to maintain the “status quo” are a fabrication that could severely mislead the international community, he added.
Fifty-three percent of respondents welcomed US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, while 24 percent did not and 23 percent had no opinion.
The poll found that 55.2 percent think Chinese military exercises would decrease the willingness of Taiwanese to unify with China, 17.5 percent said they would reinforce such feelings and 8.1 percent said they would have no effect, while 12 percent had no opinion and 7.2 percent did not know.
Asked about the likelihood that China might attack Taiwan, about 36 percent said an invasion was highly improbable, 26.7 percent said there was some possibility, 16.7 percent said it was impossible, 12.3 percent said it was highly possible and 8.4 percent had no opinion.
Compared with last month, support for Tsai’s performance dropped by 7 percentage points to 45.7 percent. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with her performance increased by 5.6 percentage points to 40.7 percent.
It is highly unusual for the support rating to drop so dramatically, especially given Pelosi’s visit and Chinese military drills, as presidents usually enjoy a boost in popular support when facing external pressures, You said.
The most probable explanation is internal politics, namely dissatisfaction with Tsai’s security leadership and a plagiarism scandal involving former Hsinchu mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅), he said.
Former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said the Tsai administration’s response to China’s military exercises was weak and slow, as Taiwanese learned that Beijing had fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan from Japanese reports and not from the government.
The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday last week, polled people aged 20 or older by telephone. It collected 1,035 valid samples, with a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.05 percentage points.
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