Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Latest Global Views surveys on Ma, Taiwan independence

This was the envelope electric bills came in recently. It shows a lighter skinned policeman busting a goatee'd, dark skin, curly-haired fellow for stealing cable.

The latest GVSRC polls are out, with President Ma, the DPP and China, and Taiwan independence as the foci. Ma's trust and satisfaction ratings show that all numbers, positive and negative, rose.....

....though satisfaction rose only marginally while dissatisfaction rose perceptibly. Ma remains a lightning rod for the economic stagnation and rising housing prices that many ordinary individuals are facing. Too, I don't think he's ever been able to shake the perception that he is weak.

Meanwhile on the national status front.....

...the gray line represents "maintain current status and decide in the future", the brown represents "support independence", the orange is "maintain current status permanently" while the black is "support unification." About 10% have no opinion in this poll, but it is clear, as always, that few in Taiwan want to become part of the PRC.

The poll on DPP China policy asks whether the DPP should adjust its China policy and gives three options -- become more open, become more protective, or not change. Among all surveyed, over a quarter gave no answer and 53.7% thought the DPP should become more open -- whatever that means. Among those saying they were DPP supporters, 45.9% thought the DPP should be more open. Whatever that means.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


Carlos said...

What’s the difference between “maintain status quo and decide in the future” and “maintain status quo indefinitely”? Maybe they meant “permanently” instead of “indefinitely”? That would align it with what seems to be a common position in Taiwan, which is that ROC = Taiwan = a country that is already independent (is it light blue? Light green?). Many of its proponents wouldn’t support unification even if China became democratic, so it’d be a position worth tracking.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, you're right. I should change that to "permanently". But there isn't any diff between that and independence. It's pretty obvious that the majority supports independence in some form.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the international media reads this as: "Taiwanese support for Ma Ying-jiu's conciliatory approach to China" or "Public support for Ma Ying-jiu's easing tensions between the two rivals that split in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War."

Dixteel said...

I don't know if it is because the way the poll is phrased that cause some bias result or if the question is not specific enough or if it is a true reflection of public opinion, but the result still worries me. Here is my reasoning. If a giant ship spot an iceberg in its path, it needs to decide on a course of action. For example, turn the ship. It cannot just play chicken with the iceberg and think that the iceberg will turn.

Similar situation here. China is not going to change its intent of annexation, but Taiwan is the one that simply wants to wait around instead of at least formulating some course of actions. And guess, what, eventually the ship will hit the iceberg.

Furthermore, for the international community, they don't know how best to help. For example, what exactly are you waiting for? Do you want to turn one way or the other? A more specific example, should I sell you the subs, F-16 or F-35? I just think it confuses the great crap out of people outside of Taiwan, and that might actually be one reason why Taiwan does not get as much support as Tibet, for example.

I am not saying Taiwan should decide on everything things right here right now, but it should be more proactive in taking measures to prevent it from hitting the iceberg. And I hope the public is firmer in its stance instead of this wishy-washy attitute. This is especially true when KMT is heading full speed ahead toward the iceberg.

Michael Turton said...

My reading is that the questions are loaded. You notice they never asked a detailed question about taidu. Or hypotheticals "If there were no Chinese pressure, what would you support?" The purpose of this very traditional type of polling is to ensure that Taiwanese opinion appears more divided than it actually is, to create a 'status quo' that people like Ma can leverage in pursuit of annexation.

Okami said...

Very interesting that you are seeing cable theft on the Taipower bills as it's a big problem and headache for legal scrap metal places and Taipower in Taipei. In some places in Taipei County you can find the discarded plastic coating they strip from the cable littering what would otherwise be very nice scenic places with signs warning you not to grow marijuana.

Michael Turton said...

Okami, if you are ever around one of those places, get a pic of the no grass sign!

Anonymous said...

Obviously the artist they hired has no idea about the criminal lifestyle.

1) They come out at night and sleep all day...how are you going get a dark farmer brown face doing that?

2) The Taiwanese male perm sensation was several years ago.

3) Goatees are only allowed for the boss of the gang, not the underlings, with the exception of the heavily-muscled bald henchman. He can have a goatee too.

Other notes...

What kind of a dog is that? A bull dog? I have never seen a Taiwanese police dog except in the airport, and never a bull dog.

The magic police wand is portrayed very well. I grant the artist that.

Red A

SoCalExpat said...

Michael Turton said...
You notice they never asked ... "If there were no Chinese pressure, what would you support?"

But why isn’t fear a legitimate consideration in forming an opinion about something. Here in the US, groups like FAPA and FF will tell you that almost all Taiwanese privately favor independence but do not express this opinion publicly for fear of the security forces. Assuming this is true (I don't believe it because everyone in Taiwan I know laughs at the security forces), why would reluctance to advocate independence for this reason make the lack of support for independence illegitimate? I pay my taxes because I’m afraid I’ll be thrown in prison if I don’t pay. Is my opinion that people should pay taxes illegitimate?

Okami said...

I'm not sure when I'll get that close to Sanxia again in the mountains between it and Xindian. If I do, I'll definitely take a pic for you. My other personal favorites were a sign telling you could get $10,000NT for reporting illegal gambling or a place that had illegal gambling that stacked bricks(with no mortar) into a wall to keep the police out in front of their long driveway.

Carlos said...

Michael, while I wish it were so, I don’t think support for the status quo always means support for independence. There are plenty of “we can/should merge when the time is right” people.

Michael Turton said...

SoCal, if we had that question, we would know the effect of fear. We would also know what people wanted in their hearts.

I've been working with FAPA for 20 years and never heard anyone say that about fear of "security forces".

Anonymous said...

If you're going to ask "If there were no Chinese pressure, what would you support?", then they also need to ask "If China moved to democracy / wasn't communist, what would you support?"

A lot of people would probably have a different opinion about merge/status quo/independence if China were a freer country.

Michael Turton said...

Good idea! That one has been asked before, though. I can't remember which poll, but I do remember there were a couple.


Dixteel said...


You have to realize that China is not communist. It is more similar to a socialist and merchantilist hybrid empire. They are only communist in name.

Marc said...

What does 'status quo' mean in the current circumstances? It can hardly describe a static situation, since the rising Red tide is already running under the foundations of the island. Or does status quo refer to the KMT/PRC relationship and not at all to native Taiwanese?

I think the term has become a cliche, and needs to be replaced by other terms.

Freeman said...

My Taiwanese girlfriend hates KMT and is very pro DPP, but she says the current status quo is the best, unless China becomes democratic. In that case she would be ok, if Taiwan became part of China, because for her it would look more like China became part of Taiwan. Imagine in 2022 Liu Xiao Bo becomes the first democratically elected president of PRC and comes to ROC on an official meeting as the first Mainland president ever, shakes hand with the ROC president and people chant and celebrate on the streets. Do you think Taiwanese would be green or blue that day? Probably not. But that won't ever happen... I fear some rockets will fly over the Taiwan strait before China holds free elections.

Dixteel said...


Your gf has an interesting view point. But that is what I mean by China centric wishful thinking. (No question she is pro-green and pro-democracy, but indeed some of the pro-green people are still in the China centric thinking box)

Of course if China becomes democratic then a lot of issues could be resolved. However, remember this is not a perfect world. Tyrants could be a king or an elected President. (just look at Latin America) For example, some of the pro-democracy Chinese still believe that Taiwan belong to China. In other words, some of them still do not understand that the choice should belong to Taiwanese.

Another thing is you have to think about economics and could Taiwan continue its way of life etc. In the past 400 years history of Taiwan, generally when Taiwan is further away from China, it prosper. When it becomes closer, its people in general start to suffer. We have to take that into account as well.

Personally, I don't believe anyone needs to become part of someone else. Taiwan does not have to be part of China, and China does not have to be part of Taiwan...especially China becomes part of Taiwan just sounds rediculous IMO (that would mean the entity has to set its capital in Taipei, for example. That is extremely unlikely). I would rather China and Taiwan become respectable and indepedent neighbours.

Anonymous said...

You have to realize that China is not communist. It is more similar to a socialist and merchantilist hybrid empire. They are only communist in name.

Actually the point is not that it's communist or socialist or whatever - the point is that the people aren't really free. That said, more and more people in China (or at least the major cities) are freely criticizing the govt in China without repercussions so things are definitely improving, which is good for both China and Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

The ad reminds me of that infamous toothpaste commercial .

Many Taiwanese (Blues/Greens alike ) have the natural tendency to be racist just like that green legislator who demanded that Vietnamese wive's genes be screened first before being allowed to get married to the superior DNA 'pure breed ' Taiwanese.

Ditto with their attitude to the real 'Native Taiwanese' whom they looked down and called 'O-Huan'.

Must be the Chinese and Japanese racist trademark that was stamped on their psyche for good!

Yet it is so funny that they call themselves 'Native Taiwanese' come election time thus doubly insulting the Taiwanese Aborigines' by effectively stealing and usurping their inherent sacred title.


Freeman said...

@Dixteel: You seem to have some problems with history. Your thinking is very naive. If you want to be objective, you have to acknowledge that PR China has at leas equally good arguments to claim Taiwan as part of them, maybe even better than Taiwan has for its independence. I'm too tired to go into that here, it's probably been discussed too many times.

Dixteel said...

PR China has a good claim on Taiwan? lol You make me laugh, Freeman. You need to go check your history seriously. Even KMT and ROC has no legitimate claim of Taiwan.

Roy Berman said...

"I just think it confuses the great crap out of people outside of Taiwan, and that might actually be one reason why Taiwan does not get as much support as Tibet, for example."

Taiwan's situation is definitely more confusing than Tibet's, and therefore gets less attention. But going along with less confusing is also the fact that it's a lot BETTER OFF than Tibet! While it's true that Taiwan is threatened by China, by contrast Tibet is 100% colonized. The forces bringing Taiwan closer to China are also largely domestic (i.e. the KMT's move towards rapprochement with the CCP in order to cut off the DPP's independence campaign) rather than the threats from China itself.

While a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is certainly a possibility, to most people Taiwan just looks like an independent country with some wacky politics and some disputes with their neighbor. Sure, it's a problem, but to someone with no connection to Taiwan there's no reason for them to be concerned on the same level as Tibet, not to mention Sudan, Zimbabwe, Korea, Venezuela, Palestine, etc.

"Or hypotheticals "If there were no Chinese pressure, what would you support?" The purpose of this very traditional type of polling is to ensure that Taiwanese opinion appears more divided than it actually is"

This is usually how I explain it to people. Yes, in theory most Taiwanese want official independence, but the status-quo is comfortable enough to not be worth risking a war and possibly subsequent annexation on terms even worse than a "voluntary" one would be.

This ties into my comment above - while Taiwan has a potentially very bad situation to worry about in the future, the CURRENT situation just isn't bad enough for most people around the world to bother thinking about.

"(that would mean the entity has to set its capital in Taipei, for example. That is extremely unlikely)."
Make a condition of China/Taiwan unification moving the capital back to Nanjing and renaming Beijing as Beiping? (Mostly joking - but that's what I would do if I were writing a science fiction story that included that bit of future history.)