About 16% would not vote for Chen if given another chance

The China Post staff and CNA

If they were given another chance, about 16 percent of voters who had voted for Chen Shui-bian in the presidential election on March 18 said they would not give their ballots to Chen, an opinion survey showed yesterday. The poll, conducted by the Chinese National Development Association, which is affiliated to the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), showed that 15.9 percent of 1,095 respondents said they would give their votes to other candidates instead of Chen if the elections were to be held again. Still, 66.9 percent said they would not switch their allegiance; 11.6 percent either said “it depends” or “it’s hard to answer;” and 5.9 percent said they would not go to the polls or would spoil their ballots, according to the survey.

The survey showed that 32.3 percent of those interviewed said they voted for Chen in the March presidential election, 24.7 percent said they opted for independent candidate James Soong, now chairman of the People First Party (PFP), 12.7 percent voted for KMT candidate Lien Chan, and 29.7 percent either said they did not vote, spoiled their ballot, or refused to answer the question.

Chen, who took office in May, has vowed to bring stability and prosperity to the people, but political uncertainties have continued to pound on the new government, resulting in continued plunges in the stock market. Yesterday’s survey showed that 27 percent of the respondents said they think the ruling Democratic Progressive Party is to blame for the drastic stock market fall over the past five months. In contrast, 17.3 percent said the KMT, which ruled Taiwan for 55 years until May 20, should be blamed for the stock market woes. Only 0.2 percent said they feel the PFP, which was founded after the March 18 presidential election, should take the blame for the stock market plunge.

Meanwhile, 11.1 percent said they think all major domestic political parties should be held responsible for the bearish stock market, while 14.5 percent said the question needs further observation and 20.8 percent either declined to answer the question or said they have no opinions about the issue.

As for the main reasons behind the poor stock market performance, 23.1 percent cited uncertainty surrounding the government’s financial and economic policies. A total of 16.3 percent blamed opposition parties for countering the government simply for the sake of opposing; 10.4 percent put the blame on the DPP for its refusal to uphold the fourth nuclear power plant construction project, and 6.8 percent cited strained relations across the Taiwan Strait. Altogether 5.8 percent blamed the DPP’s insistence on its traditional ideology (pro-Taiwan independence and anti-nuclear energy) and 20.5 percent said it depends; and 16.6 percent said they do not know or have no opinion.

Asked whether the recent financial and economic meeting chaired by President Chen Shui-bian could help upgrade public confidence in the government, 40.2 percent gave a negative answer; 26.1 percent said it could help; 17.4 percent either said “it depends” or “it’s still hard to evaluate”; and 16.3 percent said they have no opinion.

If the DPP fails to sustain Taiwan’s economic growth, 38.2 percent said that not voting for the DPP in the next election is the best way to hold the party responsible for its failure.