HKU POP releases findings of the latest annual June Fourth surveyBack

 
Press Release on June 3, 2014

| Special Announcement| Abstract | Latest Figures | Indepth Analysis | Commentary |
| Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys | Future Releases (Tentative) |
| Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |


Special Announcement

To facilitate academic study and rational discussion, Public Opinion Programme (POP) of The University of Hong Kong has already released for public examination some time ago via the “HKU POP Site” (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the raw data of all 48 regular rating surveys of CE CY Leung, as well as the 181 regular rating surveys of former CE Donald Tsang and 239 regular rating surveys of former CE CH Tung, along with related demographics of respondents. Please follow normal academic standards when using or citing such data. POP is planning to put up a “POP Education Page” to centralize all raw data and educational material as a one-stop service.



Abstract

POP interviewed 1,005 Hong Kong people between 17 and 22 May by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. From a broad perspective, Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion continues to maintain that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students, and demand a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. However, the percentages of those who think the Beijing students did the right thing and those demanding a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth have both dropped significantly, back to the level of 2011. Besides, percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China has worsened since 1989 and those who think the condition will worsen in the next three years have both reached their poorest figures since the survey series began in 1993, at almost 20%. Moreover, people continue to think that Hong Kong people have a responsibility to promote democratic and economic development in China, but the percentages have dropped to their record lows since 1993 and 1996 respectively. If one had to choose between the two, the ratio becomes 37% versus 31%. Compared to a year ago, the popularity rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has dropped significantly. Those who oppose to disbanding the Alliance remain to be the majority, but the percentage continues to drop. Further analyses show that the younger the respondent, the more likely one believes the Chinese Government did the wrong thing and the Beijing students did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident, and more likely one supports a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. This probably reflects the demand for democracy among the younger generation. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is between +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.8. The response rate of the survey is 67%.


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 1,005 successful interviews, not 1,005 x 66.8% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
[3] “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 rating not more than +/-1.8, sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% 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.


Latest Figures

POP today releases on schedule via the “HKU POP SITE” the findings of the latest annual June Fourth 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 2013 year-end and the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution collected in the 2011 Census. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:

 

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Maximum sampling error of percentages[6]

17-22/5/2014

1,005

66.8%

+/-3%

[6] 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.
[7] The figures shown in the “latest change” column of this press release have been tested after “rim weighting” data collected in this and last surveys. The structural effect of using the new weighting method is small, around -2% to +1% for percentage figures, and around -0.5 for rating figure, while statistical significance tests are not affected.


Figures of latest annual June Fourth survey are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

18-20/5/10

16-18/5/11

22-29/5/12

23-25/5/13

17-22/5/14

Latest change

Sample base

1,015

1,007

1,003

1,013

1,005

--

Overall response rate

72.5%

64.9%

66.6%

67.8%

66.8%

--

Finding for each question / Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error[8]

--

Proportion of respondents believing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beijing students did the right thing

56%

49%[9]

55%[9]

54%

48+/-3%

-6%[9]

The Beijing students did the wrong thing

18%

15%[9]

16%

15%

17+/-2%

+2%

The Chinese Government did the right thing

14%

11%[9]

12%

10%

12+/-2%

+2%

The Chinese Government did the wrong thing

68%

65%

69%[9]

68%

64+/-3%

-4%

There should be a reversion of the official stand on the incident

61%

58%

61%

63%

56+-3%

-7%[9]

There should not be a reversion of the official stand on the incident

23%

19%[9]

17%

16%

20+/-3%

+4%[9]

China’s human right condition has improved since 1989

63%[9]

55%[9]

62%[9]

51%[9]

56+/-3%

+5%[9]

China’s human right condition has worsened since 1989

13%[9]

14%

14%

18%[9]

19+/-2%

+1%

China’s human right condition would improve after 3 years

48%[9]

40%[9]

47%[9]

40%[9]

40+/-3%

--

China’s human right condition would worsen after 3 years

10%[9]

12%

14%

16%

19+/-2%

+3%[9]

HK people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China

75%

67%[9]

70%

68%

65+/-3%

-3%

HK people have no responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China

17%

21%[9]

19%

20%

21+/-3%

+1%

HK people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China

78%

68%[9]

71%

67%[9]

62+/-3%

-5%[9]

HK people have no responsibility to instigate economic development in China

17%[9]

23%[9]

21%

24%

26+/-3%

+2%

HK people should put more effort on instigating economic than democratic development in China

37%

34%

29%[9]

25%[9]

31+/-3%

+6%[9]

HK people should put more effort on instigating democratic than economic development in China

32%

33%

35%

42%[9]

37+/-3%

-5%[9]

China should emphasize more on economic development

36%[9]

32%[9]

29%

25%[9]

28+/-3%

+3%

China should emphasize more on democratic development

38%[9]

43%[9]

42%

48%[9]

45+/-3%

-3%

[8] 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. Media can state “sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level” when quoting the above figures. The error margin of previous survey can be found at the POP Site.
[9] Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level under the same weighting method, 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.


This year’s survey findings revealed that 48% of the respondents believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, while 17% believed that they did the wrong thing. Meanwhile, with regard to the way the Chinese Government handled the matter at that time, 12% regarded it as correct and 64% regarded it as wrong.

 

The findings also showed that 56% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident while 20% did not. Regarding the human rights condition in China, 56% of the respondents believed that China’s human rights condition has been improved since 1989, and 40% anticipated that China’s human rights condition will be improved after 3 years.

 

Moreover, 65% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, whereas on the economic aspect, 62% believed that Hong Kong people had such a responsibility. When comparing democratic and economic development, 31% of the respondents believed Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating economic development in China, while 37% of the respondents put more weight on the development of democracy. Furthermore, 28% believed that China should emphasize more on its economic development, while 45% believed that China should emphasize more on the development of democracy. Latest figures regarding the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (“the Alliance”) are as follows:

 

Date of survey

16-18/5/11

23-31/5/11[10]

22-29/5/12

23-25/5/13

17-22/5/14

Latest change

Sample base

1,007

1,033

1,003

1,013

1,005

--

Overall response rate

64.9%

66.1%

66.6%

67.8%

66.8%

--

Finding for each question / Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error[11]

--

Popularity rating of the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (“the Alliance”)

--

51.7[12]

54.5[12]

52.8

50.1+/-1.8

-2.7[12]

The Alliance should be disbanded

16%

--

15%

16%

18+/-2%

+2%

The Alliance should not be disbanded

54%[12]

--

56%

48%[12]

44+/-3%

-4%

[10] Popularity rating of the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China was recorded during the Rating Survey of the Top 10 Political Groups conducted between 23 and 31 May 2011. Starting from 2011, these questions only uses sub-samples of the tracking surveys concerned, the sample size of the related survey was 577, and its effect has already been reflected in the sampling errors.
[11] 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. Media can state “sampling error of rating not more than +/-1.8, sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level” when quoting the above figures. The error margin of previous survey can be found at the POP Site.
[12] Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level under the same weighting method, 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.


Lastly, regarding the Alliance, 18% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, 44% said no. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance was 50.1 marks.



Indepth Analysis

In the survey, we also asked respondents for their age. If they were reluctant to give their exact age, they could give us a range. According to their answers, we grouped them into 18-29, 30-49, and 50 years or older. Herewith further analyses of respondents views on the Beijing students and Chinese Government handling the June Fourth Incident and on a reversion of the official stand on the incident by respondents’ age:

 

Date of survey: 17-22/5/14

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

Beijing students did the right / wrong thing in the June Fourth Incident [13]

Right

71%+/-7%
(127)

49%+/-5%
(178)

39%+/-5%
(167)

49%+/-3%
(472)

Wrong

3%+/-2%
(5)

19%+/-4%
(68)

20%+/-4%
(88)

17%+/-2%
(161)

Don’t know / hard to say

27%+/-7%
(48)

32%+/-5%
(117)

41%+/-5%
(175)

35%+/-3%
(340)

Total

100%
(180)

100%
(362)

100%
(430)

100%
(972)

[13]  Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level.

 

Date of survey: 17-22/5/14

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

Chinese Government did the right / wrong thing in the June Fourth Incident [14]

Right

4%+/-3%
(7)

9%+/-3%
(32)

18%+/-4%
(75)

12%+/-2%
(115)

Wrong

81%+/-6%
(148)

68%+/-5%
(245)

54%+/-5%
(232)

64%+/-3%
(624)

Don’t know / hard to say

15%+/-5%
(27)

23%+/-4%
(85)

28%+/-4%
(122)

24%+/-3%
(234)

Total

100%
(182)

100%
(362)

100%
(429)

100%
(973)

[14]  Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level.

 

Date of survey: 17-22/5/14

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

TThere should be a reversion of the official stand on the incident[15]

Support

77%+/-6%
(140)

55%+/-5%
(203)

48%+/-5%
(206)

56%+/-3%
(549)

Do not support

7%+/-4%
(14)

19%+/-4%
(70)

26%+/-4%
(113)

20%+/-3%
(196)

Don’t know / hard to say

16%+/-5%
(29)

25%+/-5%
(93)

26%+/-4%
(113)

24%+/-3%
(235)

Total

100%
(182)

100%
(366)

100%
(432)

100%
(980)

[15] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level.



Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme observed, “This is the 22nd anniversary survey on the June Fourth Incident conducted by POP, marking the 25th anniversary of June Fourth. From a broad perspective, Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion continues to maintain that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students, and demand a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. However, the percentages of those who think the Beijing students did the right thing and those demanding a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth have both dropped significantly, back to the level of 2011. Besides, percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China has worsened since 1989 and those who think the condition will worsen in the next three years have both reached their poorest figures since the survey series began in 1993, at almost 20%. Moreover, people continue to think that Hong Kong people have a responsibility to promote democratic and economic development in China, but the percentages have dropped to their record lows since 1993 and 1996 respectively. If one had to choose between the two, the ratio becomes 37% versus 31%. Compared to a year ago, the popularity rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has dropped significantly. Those who oppose to disbanding the Alliance remain to be the majority, but the percentage continues to drop. Further analyses show that the younger the respondent, the more likely one believes the Chinese Government did the wrong thing and the Beijing students did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident, and more likely one supports a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. This probably reflects the demand for democracy among the younger generation.”



Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys

June Fourth is an important page in the contemporary history of China with a tremendous impact on both the development of Hong Kong and Mainland China. The June Fourth complex which deeply troubled Hong Kong people has dictated the results of many elections, as well as changed the course of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. Therefore, HKUPOP began to study Hong Kong people’s opinions of June Fourth and human rights conditions in China since 1993. This is the 22nd anniversary survey in a row. We explained the development of this polling series in our press releases of May 31, 2007, June 3, 2008, May 27, 2009, June 1, 2010, June 2, 2011, May 31, 2012 and May 30, 2013. Today, we publish it again, so that readers can grasp such developments more comprehensively.

 

Starting from May 1993, we began this June Fourth survey. Ever since then, it is repeated once every year. The survey has asked respondents to rate the Alliance before June Fourth since 1992 and the wordings used in this question are, “Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate the Alliance?”. Other questions include “Do you think the Beijing students did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident?”, “Do you think the Chinese Government did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident?”, “Do you think the human rights condition in China will be better or even worse in three years’ time?”, “Compared to 1989, do you think China’s human rights condition has become better or worse?”, “Do you think Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China?”, “Do you think Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating development in China’s economy or democracy?”, “Which do you think China needs more economic or democratic development?” and “Do you think the Alliance should be disbanded?”

 

In 1996, we added a question to survey people’s opinion on whether Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China while in 1997, we also included a question to see if people would support a reversion of the official stand on the June Fourth Incident.

 

Regarding sample size, from the beginning to May 1999, the sample size of the survey was set at slightly over 500. Then from May 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.

 

Our findings of previous surveys in May 1999 or before were published in our newsletter POP Express. After our HKU POP Site was established, the findings are released online, while all previous findings published in our POP Express have also uploaded on-line in various formats.




Future Releases (Tentative)

  • June 5, 2014 (Thursday) 1pm to 2pm: People’s feelings towards different governments and peoples

  • June 10, 2014 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of CE and Principal Officials


| Special Announcement| Abstract | Latest Figures | Indepth Analysis | Commentary |
| Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys | Future Releases (Tentative) |
| Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |