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Public Orientation on the Nuclear-free Homeland Issue: A Big-Data Analysis of Online Comments
In November 2018, a nuclear-free homeland issue in Taiwan was rejected by voters in a nuclear referendum. A question thus arises: When voters are making a choice over a type of energy source, do they consider only the pros and cons of the issue, or do political emotions underlie their decision? Our study aims to answer this through a big-data analysis. Compared to 2016, we ﬁnd that negative online comments concerning Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and a nuclear-free homeland increased during 2018, basically matching various polls with a relatively small amplitude of variation. The inference of “when the public is more dissatisﬁed with Tsai and the DPP administration, they become more opposed to a nuclear-free homeland issue” supports this ﬁnding. One potential reason could, in part, be the inﬂuence of political emotions. Dissatisfaction toward Tsai and the DPP administration by the public appears to have extended to DPP-related issues such as the nuclear-free homeland issue. In terms of negative online comments, compared with the topic of Tsai, the topic of the DPP greatly inﬂuences the topic of a nuclear-free homeland and vice versa. In others words, negative online comments of a nuclear-free homeland are more likely to increase if negative online comments of the DPP increase.