TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation released its latest polling data on Sept. 17 regarding current attitudes of Taiwanese citizens towards the Tsai administration. The survey also asked about their expectations for the future of cross-strait relations.
According to the data, 36.2 percent of those polled stated that they believe de jure independence for Taiwan is preferable for the country’s future. Likewise, 23.2 percent believe that maintaining the status quo is the best option for the country, voicing support for maintaining de facto independence.
In opposition to support for independence, 26.1 percent of the population, or about one fourth of people polled believe that future political integration with China is a preferable outcome.
Significantly 14.6 percent said they did not know, when asked about the political future of the country.
It is important to note that the poll was carried out by listings for residential telephone numbers, which likely slanted responses heavily towards respondents of older generations. The survey was conducted over Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, sampling 1,075 people.
According to the data, the number of respondents who believe de jure independence is better for Taiwan, has decreased by 15 percent over the past two years (from 50 to 36).
Conversely, there has been a marked increase over the past two years of respondents who believe that political integration with China is preferable (from 15 to 26 percent). The number of people who believe the status quo is preferable has remained steady at around 25 percent, with only a slight 2 percent decrease from 2016 to 2018.
(From Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation)
Contrary the analysis offered by LTN, which claims the data “destroys the myth” that Taiwanese society hopes to maintain the status-quo indefinitely, it actually seems that around a quarter of respondents remains static in their outlook towards de facto independence, and would anticipate no significant changes to the cross-strait political landscape.
The rise of “pro-integration” respondents and the decrease of “pro-independence” respondents very likely reflects mounting dissatisfaction with the current Tsai administration among swing voters.
However, the comparable margin between the shift in both camps (+11 for pro-integration vs. -14 for pro-independence) could indicate a shift in political outlook among centrist middle-aged voters, towards a more conservative perspective on cross-strait relations.
Meanwhile, the “maintain status quo” respondents which reflect an expectation that de facto independence will continue remains more or less static.
Another notable aspect of the analysis was that the only age group in which the largest percentage of respondents expect future integration with China is the age 45 to 54 demographic, an age group that also likely comprised most of the respondents. Data says that 33 percent of these respondents anticipate political integration with China, while 27 percent anticipate independence, and 25 percent anticipate no change in Taiwan’s political status.
A majority of every other age demographic anticipates de jure independence or a continuation of the status-quo (de facto independence).
In terms of major party affiliation, 67 percent of DPP supporters expect Taiwan’s future independence. For KMT supporters, 46 percent anticipate political integration with China.
Despite the increase in respondents who anticipate cross strait integration, the combined number of respondents who advocate for du jure independence and those who would maintain de facto independence total nearly 60 percent of respondents, while the polling method was also heavily weighted in favor of older voters.
It is safe to deduce that Taiwanese society still heavily favors political autonomy and is opposed to political integration with communist China. The full polling results are available to view at the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation website.