Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ma Administration takes Beef Poll Hit

Help! Somebody stop me before I use the diorama function again!

Apologies for the title, but I just couldn't think of a good had to scribe a boring straight title.

The Week of Poll Wars: The Taiwan Thinktank has come out with polls on the beef issue over the last week, triggering a government response that predictably seems to discredit government polling.

First, a few days ago Taiwan Thinktank released a poll showing public support for a zero tolerance approach to US beef was massive:
In related news, an opinion poll conducted by the pro-DPP Taiwan Thinktank showed that 77.6 percent of respondents agreed that a zero-tolerance stance on ractopamine should be made law, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.

The support for such a move is bipartisan, Lin added, with 78.8 percent of pan-blue supporters and 86 percent of pan-green supporters favoring such legislation.
It then followed up with another poll showing that Ma's disapproval ratings are high and his approval ratings, both in general and on this issue, are low:
Meanwhile, the latest survey conducted by a DPP-led pan-green think tank shows that 62.1 percent of the respondents are not satisfied with President Ma Ying-jeou's administration.

A total of 67.7 percent of the public are not satisfied with Ma's policy on conditionally allowing imports of ractopamine-tainted U.S. beef, while 73.8 percent expressed dissatisfaction at the way that the government handled recent avian flu outbreaks...
I didn't comment on this poll because I was waiting for the pro-KMT polls, since the Taiwan Thinktank polls are partisan and I don't trust them. If the other side's polls tell a similar story.....

The government poll, done by the RDEC, paints a totally different picture:
The latest government poll, carried out by the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, shows that 48.4 percent of the respondents were against any easing of the ban on beef containing ractopamine residue, said KMT spokesman Yin Wei, compared with more than 60 percent against the idea in another earlier poll conducted March 1-2.
The government then claimed that public support for easing the ban is rising. It also dissed the Taiwan Thinktank for producing erroneous polls prior to the election. Actually, the two polls asked different questions, as the Taipei Times reported....
A survey by the commission, which polled 1,084 adults from March 6 until Friday, showed an increase of 22 percentage points in support of imports of US beef containing ractopamine when four conditions established by the government were factored in, while the disapproval rate declined by 19 points.
As I read it, the Thinktank poll didn't factor in the idea of the four conditions the KMT administration proposed, meaning that the public is being polled on different items, apparently constructed to produce just these results. I haven't seen spins like this since my last drinking contests in college....

... the other side's partisan polls finally did speak, however, and told basically the same story as the Taiwan Thinktank. The pro-KMT TV station TVBS came out Tuesday with a poll that casts severe doubt on the KMT position. It noted that Ma's approval rating has fallen to 28%, the first time in two years below 30% in a TVBS poll. It also said that "nearly 60%" (59%, actually), were against opening the market to US beef even under the four conditions proposed by the KMT -- rising to 64% among voters who see themselves as in the middle. This is 10% higher than the government poll. Even in the TVBS poll KMT voters didn't support the KMT Administration.

PS: Taiwan Thinktank needs a more robust English page. The latest English update is from January and is about the election. Nothing on the recent beef controversy. Can someone thump a few heads over there? The more convenient Taiwan Thinktank makes it for non-Chinese speakers to use their pages, the more their message will get out into the wider world.

ADDED: The Writing Baron with observations on the "Aussie" beef also found to have icky chemicals and other stuff.
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