TPMI [Taiwan Public Mood Index] stands at 47.4 this month with PCI [Public Confidence Index] hitting 51.9 and ECI [Economic Confidence Index] 42.8. Compared with the previous month, TPMI climbed one point and reached a record high once again since launch of the survey. PCI edged up by one point and remained in the positive range of winning some public approval. PCI also touches the second high since president Ma took office (the index reached the peak of 54.6 in June 2008 when Ma was just inaugurated for one month). Regardless of the slight increase of only 0.9 point, ECI touched a new high this month since release of the survey. Generally speaking, the new TPMI of the very first month of ROC centenary reflected people's high confidence in the political and economic situation in Taiwan.The survey identified the key point as a 4 point drop in the Public Trust for DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen, which it attributed to the flap over the 18 percent interest, which blemished her reputation since the public found her hypocritical for criticizing a benefit that she herself received. Public trust in President Ma and Premier Wu both rose.
This looks like good news but it is likely to be temporary. This year food prices are expected to rise, as they did a few years ago, meaning that the public is going to continue experiencing the scissors of rising prices and stagnant incomes through the rest of the Ma Administration. Economic growth is projected to be lower than the last 18 months of the Chen Administration, at 4.8% (the lies about the Chen period will nevertheless continue unabated), while the unemployment goal is 4.9%. In other words, ordinary people will not see much economic progress. Major complaints, such as the cost of child rearing and housing, are not getting addressed.
Moreover, the KMT has shown itself completely hamfisted when it comes to managing the President's public image and the Party's handling of crises; the current rise is simply the result of nothing in particular happening at the moment, I suspect. Sooner or later something will happen and once again they will look like the indifferent dorks that they are, and public opinion will fall. Too, Tsai Ing-wen is smart and tough and the DPP has been handling itself well. She should recover.
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