Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taiwan Brain Trust Poll Outlier?

The Taipei Times reported on a Taiwan Brain Trust Poll (Chinese lang press release) that gave some strange numbers which called into question its trustworthiness....first the numbers on sovereignty...
While 47.3 percent of the public think cross-strait exchanges over the past three years have not negatively impacted Taiwan’s sovereignty, 40 percent believe that there has been a severe erosion of sovereignty following the cross-strait exchanges initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration since 2008, according to a survey released by the Taiwan Brain Trust yesterday.
Sorting through the spin, it shows that 40% of the population, roughly corresponding to the core group of light and deep green DPP supporters, thinks Ma has eroded the island's sovereignty. This is from a pan-Green camp think tank. It doesn't exactly correspond with my experience, but then my own experience is only selective and anecdotal.

The weirdness of this survey was signaled by its finding on Ma:
The poll, coming just days before the Ma administration marks three years in power, indicated that Ma’s approval rate stood at 40.2 percent, while his disapproval rate remained at 48.3 percent.
Consider the recent TVBS and Global Views Survey Research Center polls from April, which I wrote about a few weeks ago:
Good news for the DPP as Ma's poll numbers, which peaked briefly in Jan, are appearing to return to their more natural level of 32.9%, as the latest Global Views poll indicates. Dissatisfaction with Ma is now at 56%. This is the third straight month of slumping numbers for the President, so perhaps we've established a trend. Similarly, the numbers from the TVBS poll from the first week in April were 30% satisfied and 50% dissatisfied...
Surely Ma hasn't jumped 8 points in approval in the last couple of weeks. It seems that the sample used by the Taiwan Brain Trust polling company is out of synch with the rest of the nation.

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35 comments:

Herman said...

Michael,

What's your view on the poll numbers vs. actual ability of candidates to do his/her job well? i.e. is low numbers = candidate incompetent, high numbers = candidate competent? Is that always the case to you?

A hypothetic question: if there's one thing that Ma and KMT can realistic do that might gain some favorite impression from you, what would that be? I'm asking because it seems to me Taiwan politics and politics at large in the world seem to have this common trend. Two major parties dominate the government of a nation. Both parties claim the other party "the bad guys". Both parties want the best for the nation... Do you see that trend or is it just my blurry vision?

Michael Turton said...

The "trend" here is real; the KMT and DPP are split on fundamentals. The situation in the US is more complex -- the center-right Establishment of the US has shifted further to the Right and the Republicans have become an out and out Fascist party. "Centrist" Dems have become right-wingers. That leaves the progressive Dems as the remaining sane crowd. AFAIK there are no Leftists anywhere, except Bernie Sanders.

For the KMT to gain my support it would have to become a pro-Taiwan party, root out its own corruption, send everyone important at the top and in retirement to jail for crimes against humanity, etc. None of that will happen.

Michael Turton said...

As for the polls, competence isn't an issue. Voters in Taiwan don't vote for policies.

Readin said...

"•Homophobe afraid kids might catch Teh Gay has letter published in Taipei Times." You're statements suggests you believe "Teh Gay" is a communicable disease that one catches from exposure to others who already have it.

The letter you link to does not reflect such a belief. The parent does indicate a belief that being homosexual may be for some people a choice made at some stage of development, or at least something that can be influenced by environmental factors.

I'm guessing that you don't actually believe homosexuality is a disease. Instead you probably disagree with the parent's moral beliefs and further believe that that disagreement makes it ok to misrepresent the parent in whatever way makes your own beliefs look better.

The parent wrote "I am totally opposed to name-calling, alienation or any cruel behavior by any individual to any other person for any reason. This includes people whose sexual orientation differs from the norm." You could learn something about tolerance from this parent.

Carlos said...

I'm a little easier on the KMT. I think a large proportion of the party IS democratically-minded and favors the status-quo (Taiwan = ROC)... but the very highest level of the party is not like that. President Ma isn't either.

Right now, I don't get the sense that the KMT is interested in an independent judiciary or military. They seem happy to continue trying to enforce a monocultural and monolingual society. And worst of all (imo), they negotiate with the PRC on a party-party basis, not nation to nation.

Herman said...

Thanks Michael,

I was wondering if there's way for people of opposite camps to break the ice and have some good dialog.

Can you elaborate on the part of "Pro-Taiwan"? What does that entail? Is it because Ma/KMT pushed for ECFA, and that angered DPP supporters that Taiwan will lose sovereignty to CCP because of it? Is that what KMT did wrong and not Pro-Taiwan? If so, what's your view of Taiwan having commercial ties with China? Necessary? Not necessary? Do Tsai and DPP find commercial ties with China necessary? If ECFA is not the issue, please help me understand what's Pro-Taiwan?

Michael Turton said...

To be pro-Taiwan means that you conceive that your home and the place you want to make better is Taiwan, not China. That does not apply to anyone in the current leadership of the KMT.

I can't think of anyone in the debates over economic engagement with China who doesn't see economic links with China as necessary and inevitable.

Michael

Free Taiwan said...

And worst of all (imo), they negotiate with the PRC on a party-party basis, not nation to nation.

Only because it's the only way to ensure there are negotiations. Sometimes, compromise is necessary and this is one of those times. Insistence on negotiations in any other form would mean no negotiations which would be much worse for Taiwan and the region as a whole.

Michael Turton said...

Readin, sorry your comment got kicked to SPAM and I just found it.

The parent is an obvious right-wing homophobe and the letter contains numerous signals of that -- "the homosexual agenda" is a right-wing scare fantasy; it has no existence in reality. She considers gayness "totally morally wrong" and claims "most people agree with that" and further argues that homosexuality causes "enormous problems" for society and then blithely says she's all about tolerance and opposed to name calling -- I guess except when referring to people who "cause enormous problems", and are "totally morally wrong" and whose sexuality "differs from the norm". Her norm, of course.

So really, Readin, I doubt I have much to learn on tolerance from this obviously intolerant, controlling ("public schools shouldn't be teaching diversity" !!!) right-wing loon.

Michael

Herman said...

OK,

So what did the leadership of KMT say or do that disqualify them from

-- conceive Taiwan as their home,

-- The place they want to make better is Taiwan, not China?

If there's a whole bunch you can think of, just give me a couple of big ones. I get news mostly from World Journal
http://epaper.worldjournal.com/v2land/sf2.html
which seems to be pro-KMT so I know only one side of the story. Then there's your blog. But a couple of days ago I got hold of the video "Formosa Betrayed" and watched it. After watching it I checked out Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formosa_Betrayed
about the murders of Chen Wen-Chen(1981) and Henry Liu (1984)
and then the Kaohsiung Incident(1979)
http://www.taiwandc.org/hst-1979.htm
which I guess is what "Formosa Betrayed" is based on. I'm afraid the writer Will Tiao (also the character Ming in the movie) hasn't learned how to tell a true story. Not to me anyway. Somebody in KMT may have done terrible things in those events. But the movie is just not credible in any major details. None that I can see. The piece that I think is credible is the part of "coerced confessions" at the bottom of this article
http://www.taiwandc.org/hst-1979.htm

Readin said...

"The parent is an obvious right-wing homophobe". How do you know the parent isn't a left-wing homophobe :) ? I will agree it is unlikely, but it sure sounds like steotyping.

"'the homosexual agenda' is a right-wing scare fantasy". Whether "homosexual agenda" is a correct term for it or not, there certainly is a push to convince everyone that homosexuality is not morally wrong or abnormal and to end all forms of discrimination between homosexuals and heterosexuals, and to use the law/government in any way that furthers those goals.


"Homophobe" is a name-calling tactic of people pushing the "homosexual agenda". The parent who wrote the letter clearly doesn't like the idea of increasing homosexuality in society since he considers it morally wrong. Does that make him "fear" homosexuality? I suppose we could call people who fear increasing drug use "pharmophobes". We could call those who fear vote buying "corruptophobes". But it doesn't add any value to the conversation to do so. Calling someone a "homophobe" is a form of hate-speech much like calling someone a "homo".

You obviously disagree strongly with the parent who wrote the letter. You find his view resprehensible and immoral. That's perfectly understandable. The parent who wrote the letter probably finds your views reprehensible and immoral too. Just as he believes your views cause "enormous problems" for society, you believe his views cause enormous problems for society.


So what's the difference? Well obviously you're right and he's wrong (at least the way you see it). Does that mean you get to name-call and ridicule while the person who disagrees with you indicates a willingness to respect those who disagree with him? Is the idea that the guys on the moral high ground are supposed to use any means necessary to defeat those whose moral compasses are lacking? If so, how do we persuade those on the moral low ground that they really are on the moral low ground so that they won't use any means necessary against the "good guys"? Oh right, we persuade them by any means necessary.

Michael Turton said...

Formosa Betrayed is sensationalized bullshit, as my review noted though not in so many words. I didn't approve of it, nor did I approve of Tiao's wrong presentation of Taiwan's status.

I'm not sure what you mean. All you have to do is listen to what the current crop of KMT leaders says -- Ma saying he would do everything to ensure Taiwan becomes part of China, or at the local level, to the mainlanders I know, many of whom consider Taiwan part of China -- and demand that Japan hand over Okinawa too (gulp). If you listen they will tell you.

Readin said...

"Only because it's the only way to ensure there are negotiations. Sometimes, compromise is necessary and this is one of those times. Insistence on negotiations in any other form would mean no negotiations which would be much worse for Taiwan and the region as a whole."

If negotiations must be between parties rather than between nations, the KMT should insist either all major parties be involved or that the ruling party conduct the negotiations. When Chen was in power they negotiated without including the ruling party.

Had they wanted to conduct party-to-party negotiations on behalf of Taiwan, they had 50 years when they were in power to do so. It was only when out of power that they finally negotiated, apparantly in an effort to secure outside help and support to return them to power. That's traitorous behavior.

Since KMT apparantly expects the DPP to negotiate separately with China, they are actively assisting in China's divide and conquer strategy.

See also Separate Peace

Readin said...

" the Republicans have become an out and out Fascist party"
I don't think that word means what you think it does.

"often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition"

The Republicans do exalt the nation and American culture (Many Republicans understand the difference between race and culture, it often seems most Democrats do not), but it is the Democrats who favor centraliized autocratic government and severe economic regimentation(Obamacare, controlling how much you have to pay people, controlling what you may consider in hiring and firing, and regulating pretty much every other economic decision) as well as social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition (hate speech laws, forbidding religious displays in public places, limits on spending for polital speech).

Michael Turton said...

So what's the difference?

The difference is this: the writer of the letter makes many empirical claims, none of which are backed up by the relevant, methodologically sound, reliable, and useful research. The anti-gay side has no support for its absurd claims ("enormous problems?" Where?) while those of us who don't spend all our free time worrying about what others are doing with their genitals can supply a wealth of empirically sound research on the short-, medium- and long-term effects of integration of gayness into society.

That was exactly the situation with the racists who wanted to create second-class citizenship for non-whites -- sound science said there was no basis for it. Similarly, sound science says there is no basis for the letter writer's positions. Indeed, she does not even identify which concrete claims of the curriculum she dislikes because. I think it is especially sad because women like her have the education and positions they do, and the ability to put letters in the newspaper, because people many years ago fought to put curricula in schools that would educate children that women were not inferior -- and similar letters were written about that. The irony is unbearable.

As for reaching such individuals, I don't think it is possible. The younger generation is far less hate-filled and I expect that her attitudes will be irresistibly swept away, just like slavery and Jim Crow and male chauvinist laws and customs and miscegnation laws and so forth. Unfortunately education takes time.

I understand your main point, however, and you are right to chasten me. I will try to be more circumspect in the future.

Michael

Readin said...

"For the KMT to gain my support it would have to become a pro-Taiwan party, root out its own corruption, send everyone important at the top and in retirement to jail for crimes against humanity, etc. None of that will happen."

Asking them to jail those who have retired might be a bit too much. Taiwan did change from autocratic to democratic with relatively little violence. That couldn't have happened without some important people allowing it. Lee Denghui is in retirement, would you imprison him? There are probably even some people with blood on their hands who allowed the transition. Jailing them would be wrong not because they don't deserve it, but because of the deterrent effect. Transitions to democracy are rare and difficult. Some people have the power to prevent it or to make it very bloody. We should not make those people afraid to embrace democracy.

When a dictator faces the end of his popularity and peaceful demonstrations, we want him to choose peace as in South Africa or Taiwan, not a repeat of Tiananmen or Syria.

Michael Turton said...

"I don't think that word means what you think it does."

Haha to the Princess Bride citation.

The imperial presidency, the white superiority, the tight links with and defense of corporate power, suppression of unions, etc. These are all hallmarks of fascism. I think we'll just have to disagree here.

Anonymous said...

The letter writer reminds me of the person who makes the bigoted comment and then says, "Some of my best friends are *black, jewish, asian, gay, fat...etc.*."

The writer makes the assumption that gay is somehow less tolerable than straight and makes the assertion that homosexuality is a political agenda and not a fact of life.

The letter writer finds a way to put a smile on hate.

Readin said...

On my fascism comment I should have supplied the source for the definition I used. It was www.m-w.com.

Michael Turton said...

Transitions to democracy are rare and difficult. Some people have the power to prevent it or to make it very bloody. We should not make those people afraid to embrace democracy.

That is a good point. But there has to be justice -- perhaps a Truth Commission or similar. Otherwise one suspects the KMT's commitment to genuine change.

Michael Turton said...

And why the sudden burst of posting here?

Readin said...

"The imperial presidency, the white superiority, the tight links with and defense of corporate power, suppression of unions, etc. These are all hallmarks of fascism. I think we'll just have to disagree here."

The imperial presidency has been bipartisan, unfortunately. President Clinton issued more "signing statements" than Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Recess appointments have become the norm for both parties.

The Republican party did have a bump of white superiority when some Democrats migrated to the party, but they've mostly retired or died. The Republican party has long been the party of racial equality. The Democratic party has become the party of white inferiority. While Republicans would do away with all government racial discrimination, the Democrats favor institutionalized discrimination.

I recently overheard a conference call of some leaders in my (very large) federal contracting company discussing the goal of increasing the number of women and minorities in leadership positions in the company (my boss is already female minority). No white males need apply, I guess, or at least they should expect taht they'll have to be twice as good. How do you think the white guys in my company would feel if they heard that?

"the tight links with and defense of corporate power" Again, both parties are guilty of that. Conservatives are philosophically opposed because they favor a free market. American liberals are philosophically opposed because they want the government oppressing the corporations. But the politicians of both parties know where the money comes from and arrange sweetheart deals to make sure the money keeps coming. In my opinion the conservative position is better because corporations have no reason to try to corrupt a government that doesn't do anything, while a government that is oppressing them will need to be bought.

"suppression of unions" Republicans aren't so much suppressing unions as trying to make the competition between union and corporations fair while attempting to protect the rights of the workers. Unions need to be able to organize and union busting prevented so that they can be on equal footing with the corporation (both to prevent divide and conquer tactics, and to allow workers access to the same level of negotiaton expertise the corporation has). But other than that the government needs to stay out. Instead the unions became so powerful they used the government to give them unfair advantages such as rules that prevent a company from hiring replacement workers and recently attempts to make rules that take away the secret ballot from workers when deciding whether to organize.
Regarding the recent actions in Wisconsin and other states where unions of government employees were involveed, I would point out that even Franklin Roosevelt believe government employees should not have unions.

The Trouble with Public Sector Unions
Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." The reason? F.D.R. believed that "[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable." Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor.

Readin said...

"And why the sudden burst of posting here?"

I can't post from work, and I rarely have time on the weekend.

I should be going to sleep now :-)

Readin said...

"But there has to be justice -- perhaps a Truth Commission or similar. Otherwise one suspects the KMT's commitment to genuine change."

South Africa's Truth Commission seems to have worked well (so far as I know). I wouldn't call it "justice" though. I would call it "forgiveness".

Ok, that's it for me. I want to leave on a positive note. Good night :-)

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, some of the most racist people in history, who wanted to make sure black people had less children, were the "progressives" who supported birth control, abortion, and why, yes, eugenics, in order to achieve this goal.

Now, hush, hush, let's just sweep that under the rug historically, and call those people who disagree with you "fascist meanies." Mmmm, that feels so good.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, the drift toward fascism in the US is bi-partisan, that's why I said the Center-Right Establishment has moved to the right and the Republicans have made the tacit manifest.

Keep in mind, some of the most racist people in history, who wanted to make sure black people had less children, were the "progressives" who supported birth control, abortion, and why, yes, eugenics, in order to achieve this goal.

...and it was progressives armed with empirical science who stopped all that.

Of course, you do realize there is zero connection between modern progressives and the late 19th century ones, right? Aside from the coincidence of names, they have different roots and took different trajectories into the future.

But I wouldn't want to interrupt your cowardly, anonymous insult with facts, so I'll stop.

Anonymous said...

20th century progressives were for the eugenics. I don't think they had much abortion in the 19th century.

But anyways, before you make too many comments on American politics from your perch in Taiwan, you might want to come back for a spell.

You see, there is NO MORE MONEY for the public sector unions. You can whine and bray all you want but there is simply no more money. Thus, in California, where its all run by the Fascist Jerry Brown, they have to cut. In Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, the Fascist Black Blind Man, also had to reign in the unions a bit.

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/29/135846478/mass-legislature-takes-on-union-rights

(Sorry, I had to use that Fascist news source of NPR for that story.)

I mean, in California, life guards make 100k in Newport Beach and get 90% of their salary as a pension if they work for 30 years...but that's totally fair - they earned that toiling in the capitalist sweatshop known as the beach.

You will become very lonely if you keep on thinking that reigning in these public employee unions makes one a Fascist.

Anonymous said...

So, you admit that progressives did make a mistake when they encouraged eugenics. So, what mistakes are you promoting now, that in a few years when you are "armed with more scientific evidence" will prove to be mistaken?

How about socialism? I guess the jury is still out on that, seeing as how North Korea or Cuba could pull out a stunning upset.

p.s don't be such a pussy that I post anonymously. I'm not writing a poison letter to your employer or something. Its a freakin' blog.

Michael Turton said...

So, you admit that progressives did make a mistake when they encouraged eugenics. So, what mistakes are you promoting now, that in a few years when you are "armed with more scientific evidence" will prove to be mistaken?

LOL. Anonymous trolls, always incapable of reading.

Okami said...

People trust polls done in Taiwan? Not something I would do, but to each their own. I barely trust polls in the US unless done by one of the more trustworthy firms (i.e. Rasmussen) but I will look more towards general trends.

I'd be careful with the fascist talk, no need to invoke Godwin's law. I do wonder at times though especially after the Indiana Supreme Court gutted the 4th amendment with a new modern interpretation and the Chief Justicce who went along with it being a Mitch Daniels appointee demolishes any chance he now has of presidential aspirations.

I wouldn't necessarily call that woman a homophobe. Considering how badly most subjects are taught in school and the general level of educational ability of people who get degrees in education along with the classes they are taught. If they're barely proficient at teaching math, science, history and English, I'm not sure having them teach about homosexuality is such a great idea. I'd rather they just get the basics down first. There's a very good reason you home school(ed) and I wish to have my children home schooled.

Michael Turton said...

See the post above this one. The gay curriculum is a "respect" curriculum like the letter writer ostensibly advocates.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

And the number of comments today, incredible. Is everyone off work today?

Anonymous said...

Now, let's review again the owner of this blog's situation:

Works in Taiwan, a bastion of capitalism, where unions are virtually unheard of. He earns his living teaching Taiwanese English, so they can sell more non-union made products to America. He enjoys a low-tax, low-regulation environment, which allows him to thrive (and rightly so the guy is no idiot, except politically.)

Seriously, stop biting the hands that feeds.

Michael Turton said...

Lot of trolls out today.

Carlos said...

"I'm guessing that you don't actually believe homosexuality is a disease."

There are still people left who don't??