The majority of Taiwanese surveyed — 70 percent — agree with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comment earlier this month that Taiwan has never been part of China.
When asked on the Hugh Hewitt show on Nov. 12 about China’s threat to take Taiwan by force, Pompeo emphasized that the U.S. has always recognized Taiwan to be a separate country by saying:
“Taiwan has not been a part of China. And that was recognized with the work that the Reagan administration did to lay out the policy that the United States has adhered to now for three and a half decades.”
When asked in the latest poll by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF, 台灣民意基金會) whether they agree with the statement “Taiwan has never been part of China,” 70 percent of Taiwanese respondents said they agree. Only 22.5 percent said they disagree with the statement, a difference of more than 47 percentage points.
When it comes to party affiliation, the difference in opinion was quite stark, Among those who identify as supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), 87 percent agree with the statement, while only 10 percent disagree.
However, among Kuomintang (KMT) backers, 45 percent agree, while 46 percent disagree. As for supporters of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), 69 percent agree, while 26 percent disagree.
Of those who favor the New Power Party (NPP), 80 percent agree and only 10 percent disagree. When it comes to independent voters, 64 percent agree and 22 percent disagree.
From the perspective of age groups, the majority of citizens of all ages agree that “Taiwan has never been a part of China”; and the younger they are, the more likely they are to agree with this statement. This appears to show a consensus growing with time.
As for education level, all groups agree with the statement, and the higher the level of education attained, the more likely the respondent is to look favorably on Pompeo’s assertion. Specifically, among those with an undergraduate degree or higher, 79 percent agree with the statement, while only 18 percent disagree.
When broken down by ethnic groups, 72 percent of Hoklo people agree and only 21 percent disagree. Among Hakka, 72 percent agree and 22 percent disagree.
Among Taiwanese descended from Chinese who came to Taiwan after 1945, or Waishengren (外省人), 46 percent agree and 32 percent disagree. Thus, even the majority of people who have more recent ties to China consider Taiwan to be a separate country, albeit at a lower percentage than other groups.
Looking at Taiwan’s six municipalities, three cities, and 13 counties, even among respondents in relatively rural areas outside of the six municipalities, 63 percent agree. This demonstrates that the notion of Taiwan having a separate identity from China has begun to permeate throughout the country.
The survey was conducted for the TPOF by Focus Survey Research (山水民意研究公司) from Nov. 16 to Nov. 17, 2020. The poll gathered valid responses from 1,070 adults over 20 years of age via telephone and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent.