In this paper, longitudinal data has been employed to explore the changes and continuity of political trust among the electorate in Taiwan. This has been done so that the relation between people’s evaluations of ruling party performance, their views on the macro-economic situation, and levels of political trust might be better understood. In addition, the relationship between people’s political trust and their perspectives on democracy in Taiwan has also been investigated.
It was demonstrated, through surveys conducted between 1992 and 1998 that the distribution of people’s political trust declined. These results reversed, however, after the rotation of ruling power brought the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to power in the 2000 presidential election, as people’s political trust subsequently rebounded in 2001. It was also found that people’s evaluations on the performance of the ruling party and the macro-economic situation significantly affected their levels of political trust. Evidence provided also demonstrated that political trust is correlated with perspectives of democracy as people with higher levels of political trust were more likely to be optimistic on the prospective of Taiwan’s deepening democracy.
In conclusion, it was demonstrated that political trust is an important factor in explaining people’s political behavior in Taiwan. It was not only an indication of government performance but also a crucial indicator of healthy democratic development in Taiwan.