Deep purple evolved from deep blue

By Chiu Hei-yuan 瞿海源, Taipei Times, Friday 15 August 2003, Page 8

The pan-purple alliance formed by social activist groups have pointed out that the DPP and the KMT are of the same ilk and give no thought to fairness and justice or to helping disadvantaged groups. This undoubtedly is a serious blow to the DPP, whose momentum has been ebbing since the pan-blue camp’s Lien-Soong ticket became a reality.

If the DPP continues to adopt the election strategy of policy vote-buying and the traditional methods of bringing local factions into its fold, and yet is unable to propose persuasive, implementable concepts to boost the morale of its supporters, then the party’s defeat in Hualien could repeat itself in Taipei.

According to a public opinion survey conducted early last month, 40 percent of the public are satisfied with President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) performance while 53 percent are dissatisfied. The figures are quite close to the results of other surveys. How can the DPP win a one-on-one election race with a 40 percent support rate? If the pan-purple alliance is able to attract any votes, it is likely to divert votes from the green camp. It will be difficult for the green camp to maintain a 40 percent support rate when this happens.

Questioning the public about the various factors affecting Chen’s performance, we find that 77 percent believe the sluggish global economy has had a big impact on Chen’s government. Seventy-three percent believe Chen’s government does not have enough people with a talent for governance. Sixty-five percent believe the administration does not have the ability to carry out policies. Sixty-four percent believe the opposition parties have obstructed the administration’s work.

As for the question of whether TV and the newspapers have been friendly to the Chen government, 39 percent believe the media has been unfriendly. This figure is three percentage points higher than those who believe the media has been friendly.

The results show that the public has been quite fair. On the one hand, they have pointed out that the government does not have enough talented people or the ability to carry out policies. On the other hand, they also believe that the government has been affected by the global economic downturn and the opposition’s obstructionism.

Even 62 percent of KMT and PFP supporters believe the opposition has obstructed the DPP government’s work.

That said, people are still dissatisfied with Chen’s government. For example, a third of the people who believe the opposition’s obstructionism has had a great impact on government are also dissatisfied with the government. Fifty-one percent of those who believe the global economy has had a great impact are also dissatisfied with the government’s performance.

In other words, even though the public understands that the administration’s performance has been affected by the global economy and opposition obstructionism, they are still dissatisfied or disappointed with the DPP government’s performance.

Not having enough talented people and the ability to carry out policies can be viewed as the DPP’s internal factors, while the global economy and opposition obstructionism can be viewed as external factors. According to the analysis, the internal factors have a far greater effect on the satisfaction rates than the external factors do.

In other words, the belief that the global economy or opposition obstructionism has had an affect does have an impact on the satisfaction rate, but the impact is not so big.

In contrast, the belief that the DPP government is short on talented people and ability has a huge effect on the administration’s reputation. As I have mentioned above, a majority of the public do not have enough confidence in the administration’s talents and ability. Only 14 percent believe the administration has enough talented people while 73 percent believe it does not. Only a quarter of the public believe it has the ability to carry out policies while more than two thirds believe it does not.

The ability to carry out policies has the biggest impact on the administration’s reputation. Improving this ability should be the key priority to attempt to reverse the public’s perception of the authorities. The social activist groups are mostly disappointed with the fact that the DPP government has lost its ideals and considers everything from an election perspective. y It is very likely that the DPP will be unable to guard its 40 percent basic support if its leaders merely make election promises, cut ribbons, give away divine pigs and conduct an ineffectual review of the election defeat in Hualien, in the same way as the KMT reviewed its election losses in the past.