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September 27, 2017

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Public opinion data show Tsai losing base

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New poll figures showing a continuing slide in President Tsai Ing-wen's approval ratings have sparked suggestions that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is losing not only the support of floating voters, but also its own pan-green base.

The president's approval rating hit a new low for her time in office, in a poll released Monday by polling agency the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (台灣民意基金會).

Since her inauguration, support for Tsai has tumbled by 28.5 percent, with experts calling it a "worrying erosion of support," as the administration hits the six-month mark.

According to the poll, 41.4 percent approved of Tsai's handling of national matters and personnel appointments in the past half year since May 20, while 42.6 percent did not.

Public opinion toward Tsai reached for the first time what pollsters describe as a "death cross," the point at which disapproval surpasses approval.

Tsai rode into office on the back of a wave of popular support, with approval ratings around 70 percent at the time of her inauguration in May.

Since then, however, public satisfaction with the new administration has tumbled.

While Tsai's approval ratings leveled out between September and October, they declined again in November.

The whittling away of Tsai's popularity has been accompanied by a sharp rise in public dissatisfaction, which has risen from 8.8 percent in May to 42.6 percent in November, according to the poll.

The decline showed that Tsai was losing support not only from independent voters but also from pan-green supporters, You Ying-lung (游盈隆), Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation's chairman, said.

The poll also showed that an overwhelming 52 percent thought Premier Lin Chuan's Cabinet was "unable to solve problems," with 30.7 percent supporting the Cabinet's abilities.

Respondents were also polled on cross-straits relations and the current ban on imports from areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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