The leader of Taiwan’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) dominated Tuesday’s final poll ahead of the Jan.16 presidential election.
Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Policy Association Poll showed Tsai Ing-wen won the support from 45.2 percent of 1,052 people surveyed. Her main opponent Eric Chu, chairman and candidate for the Nationalists KMT party, received 16.3 percent. These figures show Tsai’s approval rating rose by one percentage point from the last poll in December, while Chu’s support dipped by 5.8 percentage points.
Chu belongs to Taiwan’s ruling party which tends to be pro-status quo, but Tsai has been gaining ground in recent polls as her supporters grow angrier at Taiwan’s growing economic dependence on mainland China.
The relationship between Taiwan’s ruling government and Beijing is particularly important for regional stability and international relations, as China has viewed Taiwan as a renegade province since nationalists fled to the island after being defeated in the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong’s Communists.
Taiwan remains in the crosshairs of China’s missiles and Beijing has never ruled out force as a roadway to re-unification.
The DDP maintains Taiwan’s future remains in the hands of its 23 million-strong population, which Beijing considers a call for independence.
The DDP’s rise is largely due to Taiwan’s younger population.
The association’s poll put Tsai’s approval rating at 54 percent for respondents aged between 20 and 34.
Surveys in recent months have shown Tsai is leading with an average double-digit percentage points.
A poll conducted Saturday by the cable television channel TVBS put Tsai’s support at 44 percent or 20 percent above that of Chu’s.
A poll sponsored by the KMT on Monday put Tsai’s support at 39.2 percent or 31.2 percentage points ahead of Chu.