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Voter Cynicism, Perception of Media Negativism and Voting Behavior in Taiwan's 2001 Election
Unformatted Document Text:  7 Controversial, however, is whether this theory has enough empirical support in both well-established democracies like the United States and in newly democratic societies such as Taiwan. Students of Chinese politics have long noticed that Chinese political culture helps create a unique relationship between individuals and authority. Shih (2001) studied cultural values and political trust in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan and assumed that people with different cultural orientations react to similar government behavior in different ways. Two aspects of social values and norms, according to Shih, shape the interaction between individuals and states. First, traditional Chinese culture never considers the relationship between individuals and their government as a reciprocal one. Second, one enduring characteristic of traditional Chinese political culture is the fear of chaos. When social control “rests upon self-discipline,” people may be willing to sacrifice their private interests for the harmony of society. If this is the case, the researcher in this study hypothesized, the Chinese people living in Taiwan will show different cynicism toward the electoral process and outcome as compared with those in the advanced democracies. In his study Shih had found that people in authoritarian Mainland China trust their government more than people in democratizing Taiwan. He also found that more mainlanders than Taiwanese viewed their government as being responsive. Several reasons might explain these differences. One is that the media environment in Taiwan is pluralistic and people in Taiwan are exposed to different information and judge government and political actors without much fear of retribution. Peng (2001) examined voter exposure to traditional as well as new media during the 2000 Taiwan presidential election period. She found that more voters have been exposed and have paid attention to cable election news. The efficacy measure did not relate to other variables. Voters’ viewing call-in television programs successfully predicts voters’ campaign participation while listening to call-in radio did not. Moreover, the voters who were young, who decided on a candidate relatively late, and who used more new media were much more likely to vote for the independent candidate. It can be hypothesized that voting and feelings toward the political process might be separate concepts, which relates to different levels of voter political involvement. This study examines the relationships between Taiwan voters’ political efficacy,

Authors: Peng, Wein (Bonnie).
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7
Controversial, however, is whether this theory has enough empirical support in both
well-established democracies like the United States and in newly democratic societies
such as Taiwan.
Students of Chinese politics have long noticed that Chinese political culture helps
create a unique relationship between individuals and authority. Shih (2001) studied
cultural values and political trust in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan and
assumed that people with different cultural orientations react to similar government
behavior in different ways.
Two aspects of social values and norms, according to Shih, shape the interaction
between individuals and states. First, traditional Chinese culture never considers the
relationship between individuals and their government as a reciprocal one. Second,
one enduring characteristic of traditional Chinese political culture is the fear of chaos.
When social control “rests upon self-discipline,” people may be willing to sacrifice
their private interests for the harmony of society. If this is the case, the researcher in
this study hypothesized, the Chinese people living in Taiwan will show different
cynicism toward the electoral process and outcome as compared with those in the
advanced democracies. In his study Shih had found that people in authoritarian
Mainland China trust their government more than people in democratizing Taiwan.
He also found that more mainlanders than Taiwanese viewed their government as
being responsive. Several reasons might explain these differences. One is that the
media environment in Taiwan is pluralistic and people in Taiwan are exposed to
different information and judge government and political actors without much fear of
retribution.
Peng (2001) examined voter exposure to traditional as well as new media during the
2000 Taiwan presidential election period. She found that more voters have been
exposed and have paid attention to cable election news. The efficacy measure did not
relate to other variables. Voters’ viewing call-in television programs successfully
predicts voters’ campaign participation while listening to call-in radio did not.
Moreover, the voters who were young, who decided on a candidate relatively late, and
who used more new media were much more likely to vote for the independent
candidate.
It can be hypothesized that voting and feelings toward the political process might be
separate concepts, which relates to different levels of voter political involvement.
This study examines the relationships between Taiwan voters’ political efficacy,


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