MISUNDERSTANDING: The poll showed that young people believe long-term care and childcare services should be prioritized, not large infrastructure projects
By Chen Wei-han / Staff reporter
President Tsai Ing-wen’s （蔡英文） approval rating among young voters has fallen to 18.4 percent and her disapproval rating has risen to 76.4 percent, according to an online poll released yesterday, with respondents saying the president has not understood the priorities of the public.
When asked which policies the government should give priority to, 30.5 percent said long-term care services, followed by childcare services at 12.4 percent, aquatic infrastructure at 11.2 percent, early childhood education at 10 percent, “green” energy infrastructure at 9.5 percent, urban and rural development at 8.6 percent, digital infrastructure at 7.9 percent and rail construction at 7.8 percent, according to Taiwan Democracy Watch, which commissioned the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University to conduct the poll.
According to the survey, 74.4 percent of respondents said the government should establish a “basic pension system” to ensure all retirees receive NT$8,000 per month, while 18.6 percent disagreed with the idea.
The poll found that 64.7 percent of respondents believed Tsai “had lied to” Aborigines and failed in her promise to restore Aboriginal rights, because a newly announced Aboriginal land policy infringes upon their rights to their traditional territories, while 25 percent disagreed with the statement.
According to the survey, 78 percent said a draft act on institutionalizing an oversight mechanism for cross-strait negotiations should be passed immediately to guide bilateral relations, while 14.3 percent disagreed.
Asked if they agreed that the acceptance of the so-called “1992 consensus” would guarantee the safety of Taiwanese in China, 56.6 percent of respondents disagreed and 35.5 percent agreed.
The poll found that 84.3 percent of respondents approved of the idea of the president, as the nation’s highest executive officer, making an annual report to the legislature, while 10.4 percent disapproved.
According to the survey, 67.4 percent of respondents said the government should launch constitutional reform, as it has difficulty formulating and implementing policies due to constitutional restraints, while 23.6 percent said the government should not reform the Constitution.
When asked about their favored method for legislating marriage equality laws, 19.2 percent of respondents said it should be enacted by the Legislative Yuan, 11.6 percent said it should be decided by the Council of Grand Justices and 10.1 percent said it should be put to a referendum.
According to the poll, 95.1 percent of respondents said a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted prior to the legislative review of major infrastructure proposals, apparently in reference to the ongoing legislative review of the NT$882.4 billion （US$29.19 billion） Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.
“Transportation infrastructure was given the lowest priority, but it receives the most funding from the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, while Tsai has hardly any policies regarding public childcare services,” Awakening Foundation researcher Tsen Chao-yuan （曾昭媛） said, criticizing what she said was the government’s “misplaced priorities.”
“We doubt that pension reform would lead to wealth redistribution when the government does not address the issue of a basic pension when cutting the pension benefits of public-sector employees,” Tsen said.
“The online poll shows a collapse of support for Tsai among the ‘Internet demographic.’ The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] suffered a landslide defeat to Tsai in this voter group in last year’s presidential election,” former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui （林濁水） said.
That Tsai is losing young voters’ support was confirmed by another online poll conducted by Yahoo and released on May 9, Lin said, attributing Tsai’s unpopularity to her government’s failure to engage the public in key legislation.
The Taiwan Democracy Watch poll was conducted between Monday and Wednesday, with 833 valid samples collected via e-mail. There was no estimated margin of error.