Tim Maddog has blogged on an apparent explosion in support for "immediate independence" over at Taiwan Matters!, but let me throw in some cautionary words.
First, keep in mind that there is a lot of ambiguity on what constitutes the status quo (is Taiwana province of an all-China ROC? Is Taiwan de facto independent? Is Taiwan's status undetermined?). Remembering this will help us decode the shift in support.
Tim does a good job of comparing the latest poll results with an earlier Mainland Affairs Council poll on the subject. In the table below, I've also thrown in a Global Affairs 5/20 poll on the same subject.
|Independence ASAP||Status quo now, Independence later||Status quo now, decide later||Status quo forever||Status quo now, unification later||Unification ASAP|
|Global Affairs 10/20||19%||10.3%||40.7%||11%||4.3%||4.0%|
|Global Affairs 05/20||15%||10.4%||44.9%||11.5%||5.1%||3.2%|
Taking in all the data together, it appears support for unification now or later is rather static at around the 8.0-8.5% mark. The independence ASAP camp does seem to have gained some ground lately, picking up support from the "wait and see" group. Still, if the latest Global Affairs poll is accurate, a solid two thirds majority are content with the ambiguous "status quo."
Perhaps the shift is a result of people fearing Ma is moving too fast. Perhaps it's because people no longer find the status quo as ambiguously favorable toward Taiwan as they did before. Or perhaps the increase is really just statistical noise. In any case, it will be worthwhile to keep an eye on these numbers as time goes on.