Taiwan president's approval ratings slip to 35 percent

Dissatisfaction with the performance of President Ma Ying-jeou and his right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government jumped to 52.3 percent, while the ranks of citizens approving of the KMT administration dipped to 35.5 percent, according to a new poll of Taiwanese political views released yesterday by Global Views magazine.
In a survey of 1,005 Taiwan adults carried out by telephone July 14-16, the Global Views Survey Research Center found that 44.2 percent were "satisfied" with the resulting boost to the Taiwan economy and convenience the first year of direct flights with 37.0 percent expressing dissatisfaction.
The result contrasted with a finding in August 2008 that 57 percent were optimistic that the opening of such links would lift the economy and improve convenience, with only 19.5 percent then expressing doubts.
In addition, only 22.4 percent said that the opening of direct links had improved their views on Chinese society and their impression of the Chinese people, while 53.6 percent said their views had not changed and 9.7 percent said their impressions had changed for the worse.
In addition, over 70 percent said that the PRC government needed to take action to remove various obstacles if mutual trust was to develop across the Taiwan Strait.
Over 77 percent said Beijing should cease oppressing Taiwan in international affairs, 71.8 percent said the PRC should withdraw its estimated 1,300 missiles aimed at Taiwan, 68.1 percent proposed cross-strait peace agreement, 67.2 percent stated that the PRC should promote democracy and freedom of speech.
Only 51.4 percent cited the signing of economic cooperation agreements as important for cross-strait mutual trust, down from 67.2 percent in a similar poll in May 2008.
GVSRC Director Tai An-li indicated that, with the exception of the economic cooperation issue, the priorities of those surveyed on the cessation of PRC efforts to suppress Taiwan's international space and remove missiles targeted at Taiwan had not changed dramatically, despite the signing of nine cross-strait agreements and the attendance ofa Taiwan delegation, under the name of "Chinese Taipei," at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May.
In addition, the Global Views survey showed strong concern, especially among young Taiwan adults between the ages of 20 and 44, for the differences between the PRC's authoritarian system and Taiwan's democratic society.
The Global Views survey also found that 57.8 percent of Taiwan adults believe that it is necessary for the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to have direct channels of communication, down from 62.1 percent in June 2008, while 27.1 percent felt such links were unnecessary, up from 21.0 percent. In addition, 48.3 percent said that the leaders of Taiwan and the PRC should not meet until Beijing dismantles its missiles aimed at Taiwan, while 38.2 percent disagreed.
The poll also indicated concerns about the dialogue platform between Taiwan's ruling KMT and the PRC's ruling Chinese Communist Party. While 63.0 percent said they knew of the KMT-CCP forums, over half of those said they did not understand the content of the dialogue.
However, 63.8 percent said that if the opposition Democratic Progressive Party wanted to uphold Taiwan's interest, it had to engage in direct communication with the CCP, while 22.3 percent disagreed.
The Global Views poll also found that over 80 percent believed that they were part of the "Chinese race nation" and 57.6 percent down?said the people of both sides were members of the "Chinese race nation," a position expressed by Ma on several occasions.
However, nearly 83 percent maintained that the cross-strait status quo was that of "two countries separately developing" while only 4.9 percent said both sides "belong to a divided Republic of China" and 0.7 percent said they belonged to a "divided People's Republic of China."
The poll also showed that citizen dissatisfaction with President Ma's administrative performance jumped from 46.1 percent in June to 52.3 percent, while the ranks of the satisfied plunged 5.2 percent to 35.5 percent.