HKU POP releases the first Budget follow-up surveyBack

 
Press Release on March 4, 2014

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Future Releases (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2014 Financial Budget) |


Abstract

People’s instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was rather negative, with a net satisfaction of negative 20 percentage points, much poorer than that of last year’s instant survey, while registering a new low since 2003. Satisfaction rating was 49.8 marks, which is also a record low since such ratings started in 2008. This year, public sentiment has not changed much after one to two days’ media coverage. Results of the first Budget follow-up survey conducted by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong shows that, the latest satisfaction rate stands at 23%, dissatisfaction rate 45%, net satisfaction rate goes down slightly to negative 22 percentage points, while satisfaction rating goes down by 1.3 marks to 49.5 marks. This shows people’s response remains negative after digesting some information and discussions on the Budget. Of course, how people’s reaction will change after knowing even more about the Budget remains to be revealed by our follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our latest survey, people generally feel that the relief measures suggested by the FS this year are not enough, but they tend to support containing expenditure growth, preserving revenue base, and saving for future to prevent the occurrence of structural deficit. Regarding the saying that there exists a contradiction of financial management within the government itself, because CE gives away lots of benefits in his Policy Address while FS gives warning of deficits, 52% agree to this observation. In terms of macroscopic appraisal of Hong Kong’s economic condition, 52% consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but 64% consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Only 27% are satisfied with the government’s fiscal policies, 38% are dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction of negative 11 percentage points. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures is +/-1.8, and net values need another calculation. The response rate of the survey is 68%.


Points to note:
[1] The address of the "HKU POP SITE" is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.

[2] The sample size of this survey is 516 successful interviews, not 516 x 67.6% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
[3] The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure and net value needs another calculation. "95% confidence level" means that 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. When quoting these figures, journalists can state “sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-1.8 and sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4%, and net values not more than +/-7% at 95% confidence level”. Because POP introduced “rim weighting” in 2014, during the transition period, whether changes in various figures are beyond sampling errors are based on tests using the same weighting methods. That is, to test whether the first set of figures collected in 2014 is significantly different from that of the previous survey, both sets of data are rim weighted before testing, instead of using simple computation of the published figures.
[4] Because of sampling errors in conducting the survey(s) and the rounding procedures in processing the data, the figures cannot be too precise, and the totals may not be completely accurate. Therefore, when quoting percentages of the survey(s), journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, but when quoting the rating figures, one decimal place can be used.
[5] The data of this survey is collected by means of random telephone interviews conducted by real interviewers, not by any interactive voice system (IVS). If a research organization uses “computerized random telephone survey” to camouflage its IVS operation, it should be considered unprofessional.



Background

In free and democratic societies, instant surveys are indispensable sources of free information. Combined with appropriate follow-up surveys, and in parallel to expert analyses, they give a multi-dimensional picture of opinion development. They are an important part of a society’s interactive development. In the United States, for example, every year after the President gives a “State of the Union” to Congress, their media would conduct instant polls to measure public opinion. For example again, whenever there are candidate debates in Taiwan and United States during presidential elections, which Hong Kong people seem to know more, there will be instant polls to gauge instant changes in candidate popularity. As a matter of fact, these professional instant polls are everywhere in advanced societies, and they are all completed within a day.

 

Since 1992, POP has already been conducting Policy Address instant surveys every year. From 1998 onwards, we expanded our instant surveys to cover the Budget Talks. Starting from 2008, we further enhanced our operation by splitting up our usual exercise into two rounds. In our first survey, we measure people’s overall appraisal of the Budget, their rating of the Budget, their change in confidence towards Hong Kong’s future, and the Financial Secretary’s popularity. In our second survey, we focus on people’s reactions towards major government proposals, their satisfaction with the government’s fiscal policies, and other relevant issues. Starting 2011, we revised our design to concentrate on people’s appraisal of the Budget and FS’s popularity in our instant survey, and move the remaining questions to our follow-up survey. There is no change to our operation this year.


Latest Figures

POP today releases the findings of the first Budget follow-up survey. From 2014, POP enhanced the previous simple weighting method based on age and gender distribution to “rim weighting” based on age, gender and education (highest level attended) distribution. The latest figures released today have been rim-weighted according to provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in mid-year 2013 and the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution collected in the 2011 Census.
Herewith the contact information of various surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %[6]

2014 First Follow-up

27-28/2/2014

516

67.6%

+/-4%

2014 Instant

26/2/2014

1,005

62.7%

+/-3%

2013 First Follow-up

28/2-1/3/2013

520

66.0%

+/-4%

2013 Instant

27/2/2013

1,024

67.3%

+/-3%

2012 First Follow-up

2-3/2/2012

504

63.7%

+/-4%

2012 Instant

1/2/2012

1,015

71.1%

+/-3%

2011 First Follow-up

24-25/2/2011

515

72.6%

+/-4%

2011 Instant

23/2/2011

1,031

72.8%

+/-3%

2010 First Follow-up

25-27/2/2010

517

67.1%

+/-4%

2010 Instant

24/2/2010

1,008

65.9%

+/-3%

2009 First Follow-up

26/2/2009

525

66.5%

+/-4%

2009 Instant

25/2/2009

1,015

67.7%

+/-3%

2008 First Follow-up

28/2/2008

525

70.1%

+/-4%

2008 Instant

27/2/2008

1,077

75.5%

+/-3%

2007 Instant

28/2/2007

1,018

65.2%

+/-3%

2006 Instant

22/2/2006

1,026

68.3%

+/-3%

2005 Instant

16/3/2005

1,041

65.2%

+/-3%

2004 Instant

10/3/2004

1,023

64.7%

+/-3%

2003 Instant

5/3/2003

1,047

71.4%

+/-3%

2002 Instant

6/3/2002

1,041

59.9%

+/-3%

2001 Instant

7-8/3/2001

502

67.1%

+/-4%

2000 Instant

8/3/2000

856

56.4%

+/-3%

1999 Instant

3/3/1999

1,190

62.1%

+/-3%

1998 Instant

18/2/1998

804

54.7%

+/-4%

[6] Errors are calculated at 95% confidence level using full sample size. “95% confidence level” means that 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. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.

Results of the first Budget follow-up surveys of 2012 to 2014 together with their corresponding instant polls are tabulated below:

2014

 

Instant survey

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

26/2/2014

27-28/2/2014

 

Sample base

1,005[8]

516

 

Overall response rate

62.7%

67.6%

 

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

24%[10]

23+/-4%

-1%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

45%[10]

45+/-4%

--

Net satisfaction rate

-20%

-22+/-7%

-2%

Mean value[9]

2.7+/-0.1
(Base=660)

2.6+/-0.1
(Base=471)

-0.1

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

49.8[10]

48.5+/-1.8

-1.3

2013

 

Instant survey

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

27/2/2013

28/2-1/3/2013

--

Sample base

1,024[11]

520

--

Overall response rate

67.3%

66.0%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

30%[10]

23+/-4%

-7%[10]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

31%[10]

41+/-4%

+10%[10]

Net satisfaction rate

-1%

-18+/-7%

-17%[10]

Mean value[9]

2.9+/-0.1
(Base=793)

2.7+/-0.1
(Base=497)

-0.2[10]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

53.6[10]

49.5+/-1.7

-4.1[10]

2012

 

Instant survey

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

1/2/2012

2-3/2/2012

--

Sample base

1,015[12]

504

--

Overall response rate

71.1%

63.7%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

38%

39+/-4%

+1%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

26%

30+/-4%

+4%

Net satisfaction rate

12%

9+/-7%

-3%

Mean value[9]

3.1+/-0.1
(Base=801)

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=484)

-0.1

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

57.0

52.6+/-1.8

-4.4[10]

[7] All error figures in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that 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. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.
[8] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 695.
[9] Collapsed from a 5-point scale. The mean value is calculated by quantifying all individual responses into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 marks according to their degree of positive level, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest, and then calculate the sample mean.
[10] Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level, meaning that they are statistically significant prima facie. However, whether numerical differences are statistically significant or not is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful.
[11] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 813.
[12] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 826.

 


Our first Budget follow-up survey reveals that 23% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 45% were dissatisfied, thus net satisfaction stands at negative 22 percentage points. The mean score is 2.6, meaning in between “half-half” and “quite dissatisfied”. The average rating registered for the Budget was 48.5 marks. With respect to people’s specific reactions towards the contents of this year’s Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

 

Date of survey

27-28/2/2014 [13]

Sample base

516

Overall response rate

67.6%

Measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people’s stress brought by the economic downturn include: reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment, as well as profits tax, both subject to a ceiling of $10,000, waiving rates for the first two quarters of 2014-15, paying one month’s rent for public housing tenants and providing an extra allowance to Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. Do you think these measures are enough?

Enough

Not Enough

Don’t know/ hard to say

Total

36+/-4%

57+/-4%

7+/-2%

100%

Financial Secretary John Tsang suggested containing expenditure growth, preserving revenue base, and saving for future to prevent the occurrence of structural deficit. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this saying?

Agree

Half-half

Disagree

Don’t know/ hard to say

Total

51+/-4%

15+/-3%

30+/-4%

4+/-2%

100%

There is a saying that the Chief Executive has been giving away many benefits in his Policy Address and on the other hand, the Budget has been warning the occurrence of deficit, indicating an internal contradiction of financial management concept in the government. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this saying?

Agree

Half-half

Disagree

Don’t know/ hard to say

Total

52+/-4%

11+/-3%

25+/-4%

13+/-3%

100%

[13] All error figures in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that 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.

Results showed that, 36% of the respondents thought that the relief measures suggested by the Financial Secretary are enough, 57% thought the opposite. Meanwhile, 51% agreed with Financial Secretary’s suggestion to contain expenditure growth, preserve revenue base, and save for future, in order to prevent the occurrence of structural deficit, whereas 30% of the respondents disagreed. Besides, 52% of the respondents agreed to the saying that there was an internal contradiction of financial management concept indicated by the benefits given away in the Policy Address and warning of deficit in the Budget, 25% disagree to it. With respect to people’s satisfaction with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement and other relevant issues, the figures are summarized below:

 

Date of survey

Total sample

Satisfied with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement[14]

Dissatisfied with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement[14]

Net satisfaction rate

Mean value[14]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair[15]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair [15]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable[15]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable[15]

27-28/2/2014[16]

516

27+/-4%

38+/-4%

-11+/-7%

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=470)

52+/-4%

35+/-4%

24+/-4%

64+/-4%

28/2-1/3/2013[16]

520

30+/-4%

42+/-4%

-12+/-7%

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=495)

51+/-4%

37+/-4%

19+/-3%

67+/-4%

2-3/2/2012[16]

504

33+/-4%

43+/-4%

-10+/-8%

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=486)

56+/-4%

32+/-4%

20+/-4%

70+/-4%

24-25/2/2011[16]

515

21+/-4%

52+/-4%

-31+/-7%

2.5+/-0.1
(Base=489)

51+/-4%

39+/-4%

16+/-3%

74+/-4%

25-27/2/
2010[16]

517

34+/-4%

30+/-4%

4+/-7%

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=469)

60+/-4%

31+/-4%

27+/-4%

62+/-4%

26/2/
2009[16]

525

30+/-4%

34+/-4%

-4+/-7%

2.9+/-0.1
(Base=497)

64+/-4%

29+/-4%

29+/-4%

62+/-4%

28/2/
2008[16]

525

60+/-4%

12+/-3%

48+/-6%

3.6+/-0.1
(Base=497)

67+/-4%

22+/-4%

42+/-4%

45+/-4%

28/2/
2007[16]

1,018

49+/-3%

10+/-2%

39+/-4%

3.5+/-0.1
(Base=918)

63+/-3%

28+/-3%

34+/-3%

52+/-3%

22/2/
2006[16]

1,026

36+/-3%

15+/-2%

21+/-4%

3.3+/-0.1
(Base=843)

55+/-3%

34+/-3%

32+/-3%

55+/-3%

16/3/
2005[16]

1,041

29+/-3%

15+/-2%

14+/-4%

3.2+/-0.1
(Base=800)

59+/-3%

27+/-3%

29+/-3%

51+/-3%

10/3/
2004[16]

1,023

18+/-2%

29+/-3%

-12+/-4%

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=740)

58+/-3%

31+/-3%

22+/-3%

62+/-3%

5/3/
2003[16]

1,047

12+/-2%

45+/-3%

-33+/-4%

2.4+/-0.1
(Base=776)

51+/-3%

33+/-3%

19+/-2%

60+/-3%

6/3/
2002[16]

1,041

26+/-3%

21+/-3%

5+/-4%

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=715)

55+/-3%

29+/-3%

25+/-3%

52+/-3%

7-8/3/
2001[16]

502

45+/-5%

14+/-3%

32+/-7%

3.4+/-0.1
(Base=333)

--

--

--

--

8/3/
2000[16]

856

60+/-4%

9+/-2%

51+/-5%

3.6+/-0.1
(Base=628)

--

--

--

--

18/2/
1998[16]

804

42+/-3%

13+/-2%

29+/-5%

3.4+/-0.1
(Base=599)

--

--

--

--

[14] Collapsed from a 5-point scale. The mean value is calculated by quantifying all individual responses into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 marks according to their degree of positive level, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest, and then calculate the sample mean.
[15] Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
[16] All error figures in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that 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.


Latest results revealed that 27% were satisfied with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 38% were dissatisfied, thus net satisfaction stands at negative 11 percentage points, and mean value at 2.8, meaning in between “half-half” and “quite dissatisfied”. With respect to Hong Kong’s tax system, 52% considered it fair, whilst 35% thought it unfair. Last of all, 24% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 64% who regarded it unreasonable.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, “Our surveys show that people’s instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was rather negative, with a net satisfaction of negative 20 percentage points, much poorer than that of last year’s instant survey, while registering a new low since 2003. Satisfaction rating was 49.8 marks, which is also a record low since such ratings started in 2008. This year, public sentiment has not changed much after one to two days’ media coverage. The latest satisfaction rate stands at 23%, dissatisfaction rate 45%, net satisfaction rate goes down slightly to negative 22 percentage points, while satisfaction rating goes down by 1.3 marks to 49.5 marks. This shows people’s response remains negative after digesting some information and discussions on the Budget. Of course, how people’s reaction will change after knowing even more about the Budget remains to be revealed by our follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our latest survey, people generally feel that the relief measures suggested by the FS this year are not enough, but they tend to support containing expenditure growth, preserving revenue base, and saving for future to prevent the occurrence of structural deficit. Regarding the saying that there exists a contradiction of financial management within the government itself, because CE gives away lots of benefits in his Policy Address while FS gives warning of deficits, 52% agree to this observation. In terms of macroscopic appraisal of Hong Kong’s economic condition, 52% consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but 64% consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Only 27% are satisfied with the government’s fiscal policies, 38% are dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction of negative 11 percentage points.”



Future Releases (Tentative)

  • March 6, 2014 (Thursday) 1pm to 2pm: Ratings of top 10 political groups

  • March 11, 2014 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of CE and Principal Officials


| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2014 Financial Budget) |