Presidential popularity is the “causal agent” of presidential effectiveness. High approval ratings mean more power and greater ability to govern. Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou enjoyed high approval ratings when he was elected in 2008, but his popularity declined rapidly soon after, to about 14%. How do Taiwan citizens evaluate their presidents? What factors help to explain the Ma's declining popularity during his presidency? Consistent with conventional wisdom, this study finds that the country's overall economic conditions play a vital role in the popularity of Taiwan's president. Closely following is citizens' evaluation of the president's ability in managing cross-Strait relationship, national defense, and diplomacy. Ma's staffing of key cabinet positions has also had an effect on his popularity, which is unusual in the study of presidential approval. The personal integrity of the president, a trait that Ma has emphasized strongly, has not had a positive effect on his declining popularity in Taiwan.