HKU POP SITE releases the latest popularity ratings of CE Tung Chee-hwa and the Policy Secretaries, as well as the results of the HKSAR Anniversary SurveyBack

Press Release on June 25 , 2002

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" ( the latest ratings of CE Tung Chee-hwa and the Policy Secretaries, as well as the results of the HKSAR Anniversary Survey. The rating of Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie is released on-line for the first time. Our normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday at 2 pm via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the forthcoming week. We will review and adjust this operation regularly.


Since CE Tung Chee-hwa has already announced the appointment of Principal Officials under the accountability system yesterday, we will release people's initial appraisal of these officials on June 27, 2002, Thursday, at 2 pm. Then, on July 2, 2002, Tuesday, at 2 pm, we will release our latest findings on people's trust in the HKSAR and Beijing Central Governments, and their confidence in "one country, two systems".


According to the latest figures released today, CE Tung Chee-hwa's rating registered in mid-June (June 17-19) was 50.7, a drop of 1.8 marks when compared with that of early June. The figure was also the lowest recorded this year. Meanwhile, the popularity ratings of CS Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and FS Antony Leung Kam-chung were 63.6 marks and 58.3 marks respectively. Compared with the figures of mid-May, their ratings have dropped significantly by 2.1 and 3.9 marks respectively.


The popularity rating of Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie registered in mid-June was 49.7 marks, representing a drop of 0.6 marks from that of mid-May, which was statistically insignificant. On the macro level, her rating has always been the lowest among the three Policy Secretaries over the past one and a half years, fluctuating narrowly between 45 and 50 marks in general.


Since the latest ratings of the CE and the three Policy Secretaries were registered before CE Tung Chee-hwa announced the appointment of the Principal Officials under the accountability system, the effect of the announcement on their ratings is yet to be seen.


As regards the HKSAR Anniversary Survey, this year's result showed that 78% of the respondents believed that the overall condition of Hong Kong has become worse after its reunification with China, 6% said it has improved, 9% said no change, while 7% did not give a definite answer. Compared with the figures obtained last year, the number of respondents who reported a deterioration in the overall condition has increased by ten percentage points. It was a jump of sixty-nine percentage points compared with that recorded in July 1997.


Regarding people's sentiments towards the handover, results revealed that 5% of the respondents used either positive words (like happy, excited, and so on) to describe their feelings, another 5% used ambivalent words (like mixed feelings), 28% used negative words (like worried, afraid, and so on), while 56% used neutral words (like no special feeling). On the macro level, people's feelings towards the handover were more complicated in mid-1997, as 35% of them felt happy and optimistic, and 48% held a neutral view. One year after the handover, the percentage of those feeling optimistic dropped drastically by twenty-six percentage points to reach 9%, those who used negative words increased by eleven percentage points to reach 19%, while those holding a neutral view increased fifteen percentage points to reach 62%. These figures have remained rather stable since then.


Results also revealed that 53% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong society had undergone significant changes after the handover, representing a significant increase of nine percentage points from that of the last year. On the eve of the handover, only 18% of the respondents predicted there would be significant changes after the handover.


As regards the policy of the Central Government on Hong Kong after the handover, 30% of the respondents evaluated it positively, 33% said "half-half", while 21% gave negative evaluations. These figures have remained quite stable over the past few years.


Besides, results in early June (June 4-5) showed that 40% of the respondents were proud of becoming a national citizen of China after the handover, an increase of four percentage points when compared with the figure recorded last year. On the other hand, 54% of them said they did not have any special feeling, a drop of six percentage points when compared with that of last year. After the handover, normally 30% to 40% of the respondents said they were proud of their new national identity. About 50% to 65% had no special feeling.


All new surveys reported in the POP Site today are random telephone surveys conducted by interviewers, targeting at Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong of age 18 or above. The sample size of the surveys is over 1,000 respondents. At 95% confidence level, the sampling errors of the ratings of CE, CS, FS and SJ are plus/minus 1.4 marks, 1.0 mark, 1.2 marks and 1.4 marks respectively, while that of all percentages is less than plus/minus 3 percentage points. That means if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Shall anyone have any question regarding the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site, members of the POP Team will be happy to answer them, but we will not comment on the findings at this stage. Such an arrangement would be reviewed when more resources are available. Please note that Dr CHUNG Ting-yiu Robert, Director of Public Opinion Programme, is solely responsible for the work published in the POP Site, which does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong.