POP Express Vol. 3 From the Editor - Comments on Surveys on the Selection of the HKSAR Chief ExecutiveBack

November 1996

The selection process for the First SAR Chief Executive has reached a critical stage, the crave for public opinion data was never greater. With this unprecedented demand for opinion data, a number of cheap but unscientific methods of data collection has become popular, including the so-called interactive tone-dial recorded telephone interviews, phone-in polls, electronic interviews using the World Wide Web, and casual street and telephone polls.


Such unscientific methods of data collection might have developed out of good-will, but because of their casual nature, they could at best be taken as very rough forms of opinion expression. Provided that the researchers reported their method and contact information in detail, they can still be treated as useful forerunners of proper polling practices.


On the other hand one must also not mythicize public opinion surveys. Even the best surveys reflect people's opinion at specific points in time, they are not the only criterion for policy development. Surveys on the selection of the SAR Chief Executive, as well as whether ADPL members should join the Provisional Legislature reported in this issue, should be viewed in this light.


Because the selection of the SAR Chief Executive is vital to the future development of Hong Kong, our POP Team has been conducting surveys on this topic since 1994. Since October this year, our frequency has increased to once every week. We will be putting all our reports together under one cover immediately after the selection. Readers who would like to obtain early copies are welcome to contact any of our editors.


Chung Ting-yiu Robert