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Americans Support Taiwan (but can’t find it on a map)

September 24, 2007

Yesterday there was an article on the front page of the Taipei Times, announcing that the majority of Americans support Taiwan’s bid for UN membership. Apparently, according to a recent Zogby telephone poll, American liberals and conservatives are both inclined to oppose China’s stance on the issue and approve Taiwan entering the UN. Well, that’s cool, right?

Except that I could have sworn that most Americans don’t know the difference between Taiwan and Thailand. And it turns out, I’m right. According to the article, out of the Americans being polled, only 39% said that they were “familiar with Taiwan”. 14% believe Taiwan is not a democracy and 42% don’t know if it is or not. Almost 1/3 of respondents were unsure how developed Taiwan is.

Now, consider that “none of the questions made reference to Taiwan’s international status or the background to the Taiwanese government’s bid to join the UN.” So, a large percentage of the people being polled didn’t really know why it’s even an issue. They were just guessing, maybe?

To be fair, it seems that 72% of Americans think that, in regards to UN membership, “all countries should be treated equally and without discrimination.” 81% say the U.S. “should respect every country’s right to UN membership based on the principles of democracy and self-determination.” So maybe they weren’t just giving random answers after all.

Still, I have to wonder if the results were a bit skewed by the fact that the respondents didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.

Here are a couple articles: link and link

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