label r shifted
Session B5
When the Link between Independence and Unification Brakes: Re-evaluate the Validity of the Measurement with the Exploratory Approach
劉正山 Frank Cheng-Shan Liu
Institute of Political Science, National Sun Yet-San University, Taiwan
康藝晃 Yihuang Kang
Department of Information Management, National Sun Yet-San University, Taiwan

When it comes to Taiwan’s public opinion about the cross-strait relationship, we have been accustomed to—consciously and unconsciously—adopt the unification-independence spectrum as the major measurement for probing Taiwanese voters’ will. Is this measurement a valid basis for political interpretation? Departing from the reflection about concurrent measurement of national identity, we take the exploratory data analysis approach and multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) method to examine the validity of this measurement. We explored data collected via multiple mode of surveys between 2013 and 2016, including a representative face-to-face representative survey Taiwan Social Change Survey (TSCS) 2013 (n=1,952), a representative telephone survey in 2014 (n=1,100), and a panel dataset that was merged from five waves of web survey (n=468). A series of analysis consistently suggests that the same pattern: the conventionally used survey question about Taiwanese voters’ unification-independence preferences has little association with any of meaningful constructs emerging from data and lacks internal consistency. This result of “a broken link” has meaningful implications for understanding Taiwan voters’ political identification and public opinion research and practice regarding the cross-strait relationship.

Keywords: national identity, unification, independence, measurement, conceptualization