TVBS released its latest poll on identity, the KMT's pro-China policies, and Taiwan independence. Take a close look at Questions 9-14 (translation by ESWN):
Q9. When these economic agreements are signed, are you confident that the government will protect the interests of Taiwan?
9%: Very confident
30%: Somewhat confident
28%: Somewhat not confident
25%: Very not confident
8%: No opinion
Q10. Some people say that the policies of the Ma Ying-jeou government are tilted towards mainland China. Do you agree or disagree?
9%: No opinion
Q11. What is your attitude towards unification versus independence?
61%: Maintain the status quo
21%: Lean towards independence
9%: Lean towards unification
Q12. If the choice exists, would you want Taiwan to become an independent nation or to be unified with China?
68%: Taiwan independence
18%: Unification with mainland China
14%: No opinion
Q13. In our society, some people think that they are Chinese while others think that they are Taiwanese. What do you think you are?
11%: Don't know/refused to answer
Q14. What would you say that you are? Taiwanese? Chinese? Both?
43%: Both Taiwanese and Chinese
5%: Don't know
According to the island's most rabidly pro-KMT station, the public strongly supports independence, totally rejects the idea that it is solely Chinese, and thinks the KMT government is too close to China. Basically, everything many of us have been saying is all laid out there. Consider how slanted pro-KMT TVBS polls tend to be -- likely a methodology issue, not an inherent bias -- this poll is even more amazing. For Chinese the questions use the term 中國人.
I know of other polls that are showing similar trends -- one is due to be released later this year; can't wait to report on it.
Someone asked me whether the reunification lobby will shrink and the independence lobby grow as time goes by. I think this widespread identification with Taiwan will paradoxically lead to greater polite meaningless noise about annexation. Certainly Beijing will continue to put pressure on Taiwan firms in China to toe the Beijing line, and they are likely to respond by doing so, in order to function in that market. The powerful, growing, and stable identification with Taiwan means that they can do so secure in the knowledge that it doesn't matter. That rising Taiwan identification also means that local voters feel secure voting for local KMT candidates also in part because the KMT is part of that Taiwan identity. Hence I do not see that a growing identification with Taiwan will necessarily translate into less pro-China rhetoric in society at large or KMT losses at the polls.
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