Almost a year after Tsai Ing-Wen was re-elected as President of Taiwan in a landslide victory, Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest polling explored Taiwanese attitudes towards President Tsai and her Government.
President Tsai’s job performance approval rating has declined significantly since our polling in July, and her net approval rating dropping 13 points to +8%. Currently, just 35% approve of President Tsai’s job performance since she became President, whereas over a quarter (27%) now disapprove. Around a third neither approve nor disapprove.
Confidence in the Taiwanese Government has also declined during the latter half of 2020. A clear majority (56%) are confident in the Taiwanese Government, a decrease of 10 points since July.
Moreover, only a third (33%) of the Taiwanese public consider that the current Government is competent, while around a quarter (24%) believe the Government is incompetent. This result gives the Government a net competency rating of +9%. Notably, a third (33%) view the current Government as neither competent nor incompetent.
Perspectives on the Taiwanese Government’s competency are strongly affected by political loyalty. A majority (60%) of those who voted for President Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party believe that the current Government is competent, yet a majority (50%) of those who voted for Han Kuo-yu’s Kuomintang party hold the opposite view.
Despite the mixed overall perception of the Government, the overwhelming majority (76%) say that the Taiwanese Government has handled the coronavirus crisis well. Only 15% do not believe the Government tackled the pandemic successfully, while 9% don’t know.
Taiwanese from both sides of the political divide consider that the Taiwanese Government handled the coronavirus crisis well––a clear majority of DPP supporters (90%) and KMT voters (63%) approved of the Government in this regard.
Nevertheless, only 36% are confident in the future of the economy in Taiwan, whereas 26% are pessimistic. Over a third (36%) said they were neither confident nor pessimistic.
Widespread pessimism about the future of the economy may be a key factor for the declining Government and Presidential approval rating. Indeed, only 7% of the Taiwanese public describe themselves as ‘very’ financially stable. A majority (56%) consider that they are ‘reasonably’ financially secure, yet 30% say they are only ‘somewhat’ financially secure. A significant minority (8%) believe they are not at all financially secure.
Although concerns about the future of the Taiwanese economy are relatively high, and many do not believe they are completely financially secure, a clear majority (54%) remain in support of President Tsai’s drive to make Taiwan’s economy more self-sufficient. Only 14% oppose this push. This result is remarkably similar to the outcome of our polling in July, providing evidence that the Taiwanese public remain firmly behind this aspect of President Tsai’s platform.
Ultimately, our latest polling has measured a clear decline in the levels of public approval for both President Tsai and her Government. While the Taiwanese public remain firmly in support for the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, many are concerned about the future of the economy. Nevertheless, most Taiwanese support the President’s desire to use domestic demand as the basic engine for Taiwan’s industrial development.