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Ma's approval rating remains low: poll

2012/07/22 16:27:11

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou's approval rating has risen slightly from last month but remains quite low, according to a poll conducted by a local think tank.

Ma's approval rating rose to 23.4 percent in July from 22.5 percent the previous month, while his disapproval rating dropped 2.3 percentage points to 65.3 percent, according to Taiwan Thinktank.

People between the ages of 30 and 49 and those engaged in stock trading are the two groups most disappointed with Ma's performance, according to the poll.

Meanwhile, 59.2 percent of the respondents said they were not satisfied with Vice President Wu Den-yih, who was allegedly linked in local media reports to a bribery case involving former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih.

About 64 percent of those polled said they believe Wu is somehow connected to the case, while 73.4 percent said they think there are other such government scandals that have yet to be uncovered.

The low ratings can be interpreted as a "crisis" for Ma, who started a second term on May 20, said Hsu Yung-ming, a member of the think tank and an associate professor at Soochow University's Department of Political Science.

Several controversial policies, such as a proposed capital gains tax, and Ma's handling of the bribery case have contributed to the low ratings, Hsu said at a press conference.

Not only are people doubting Ma's capabilities, they are questioning the credibility of Wu, who has denied that he was involved in the bribery case, said Democratic Progress Party Legislator Lin Chia-lung.

Lin said people have lost faith in politicians' call to fight corruption and are taken aback by the number of scandals involving high ranking officials.

However, Liao Da-chi, a professor of politics at National Sun Yat-sen University, said she "holds an optimistic view," despite the president's low approval ratings.

"Taiwanese have come to understand that it is difficult for parties to remain clean," she said.

It is not necessarily a bad thing to have low expectations of politicians and the government because democracy is not all about trust, she said. But democracy needs constant supervision, she added.

The poll was conducted nationwide July 18-19 among 1,073 respondents, age 20 and over. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

(By Nancy Liu)