Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has seen his approval rating nearly halved since his May 20 inauguration because of public anger over the island's deteriorating economy, a newspaper poll published Wednesday found, dpa reported.
The telephone poll of 1,029 adults by the United Daily News showed that satisfaction with Ma has dropped from 66 per cent on his inauguration day to its lowest level, 37 per cent, on Tuesday.
Of those respondents who said they were discontented with Ma, 32 per cent said Ma had failed to revive Taiwan's economy, 21 per cent thought Ma was not bold in his administration while the rest complained that Ma's policies changed too often and he was too soft in dealing with China.
However, 54 per cent of those polled said Ma has the ability to run the country while 32 per cent said he lacks the ability to lead Taiwan.
During his election campaign, Ma promised that if he won, he would raise Taiwan's annual economic growth to 6 per cent, keep the jobless rate below 3 per cent and raise per-capita income to 30,000 US dollars.
The Taiwan government's forecast for 2008's economic growth is 4.3 per cent, but several international financial institutions predicted that growth in Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) would slow to 2 per cent or even lower in 2009.
Analysts also warned that the island's unemployment rate would surge to about 5 per cent by year's end with about 1 million people - or one of every 23 Taiwanese - out of work.
On Tuesday, the cabinet announced plans to issue purchase vouchers to help stimulate domestic consumption and halt the economic downturn.
The vouchers, worth 3,600 Taiwan dollars (109 US dollars) each, are to be issued to every citizen to be used for their personal shopping.
By issuing the purchase vouchers, the Taiwan government hopes to raise Taiwan's GDP growth by 0.64 percentage points.