HKU POP releases the first Budget follow-up surveyBack

 
Press Release on March 3, 2015

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2015 Financial Budget) |


Abstract

People’s instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was rather positive, with a net satisfaction of positive 28 percentage points, representing a significant increase from the instant survey conducted last year. As for the rating of the Budget, this year’s instant survey gives a rating of 60.2 marks. Both figures reach their new highs since 2010. 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 44%, dissatisfaction rate 20%, net satisfaction rate goes down slightly to positive 24 percentage points, while satisfaction rating also goes down slightly by 0.5 to 59.7 marks. This shows people’s response remains positive 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 second follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our latest survey, people generally feel that the relief measures to the public and the support measures to industries affected by the Occupy Movement suggested by the Financial Secretary this year are enough, but they tend to think the budget plan mainly benefits the middle class, while their opinions are split on whether or not the proposals by the FS in Budget can help to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment. In terms of macroscopic appraisal of Hong Kong’s economic condition, 62% consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but 56% consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Meanwhile, 36% are satisfied with the government’s fiscal policies, 31% are dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction of positive 5 percentage points. The results are better than those of last year in general. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures is +/-1.9, and net values need another calculation. The response rate of the survey is 66%.


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 520 successful interviews, not 520 x 66.5% 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 +/-1.9 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 2014 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]

2015 First Follow-up

26-27/2/2015

520

66.5%

+/-4%

2015 Instant

25/2/2015

610

67.4%

+/-4%

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 2013 to 2015 together with their corresponding instant polls are tabulated below:

2015

 

Instant survey

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

25/2/2015

26-27/2/2015

 

Sample base

610[8]

520

 

Overall response rate

67.4%

66.5%

 

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

45% [10]

44+/-4%

-1%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

18%[10]

20+/-4%

+2%

Net satisfaction rate

28%[10]

24+/-7%

-4%

Mean value[9]

3.3[10]
(Base=483)

3.3+/-0.1
(Base=493)

--

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

60.2[10]

59.7+/-1.9

-0.5

2014

 

Instant survey

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

26/2/2014

27-28/2/2014

 

Sample base

1,005[11]

516

 

Overall response rate

62.7%

67.6%

 

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

24%[10]

23%

-1%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

45%[10]

45%

--

Net satisfaction rate

-20%

-22%

-2%

Mean value[9]

2.7
(Base=660)

2.6
(Base=471)

-0.1

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

49.8[10]

48.5

-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[12]

520

--

Overall response rate

67.3%

66.0%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[9]

30%[10]

23%

-7%[10]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[9]

31%[10]

41%

+10%[10]

Net satisfaction rate

-1%

-18%

-17%[10]

Mean value[9]

2.9
(Base=793)

2.7
(Base=497)

-0.2[10]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

53.6[10]

49.5

-4.1[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 529.
[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 695.
[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 813.


Our first Budget follow-up survey reveals that 44% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 20% were dissatisfied, thus net satisfaction stands at positive 24 percentage points. The mean score is 3.3, which is in between “half-half” and “quite satisfied” in general. The average rating registered for the Budget was 59.7 marks. With respect to people’s specific reactions towards the contents of this year’s Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

 

 

Finding and error[13]

Yes

No

Don’t know /
hard to say

Total

Measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people’s stress include: reducing salaries tax, tax under personal assessment and profits tax, all subject to a ceiling of $20,000, increasing child allowances to $100,000, waiving rates for the first two quarters of 2015-16, subject to a ceiling of $5,000, paying one month’s rent for lower income public housing tenants, and providing two months’ extra allowance to the recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance. Do you think these measures are enough?

54+/-4%

41+/-4%

5+/-2%

100%

Financial Secretary John Tsang suggested providing short-term support measures to industries affected by the Occupy Movement, including waiving six months’ license fees for tourism industry, restaurants and hawkers, etc., and waving vehicle examination fee once for some commercial vehicles. Do you think these measures are enough?

63+/-4%

22+/-4%

15+/-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, 54% of the respondents thought that the relief measures suggested by the Financial Secretary are enough, 41% thought the opposite. Meanwhile, Financial Secretary John Tsang suggested providing short-term support measures to industries affected by the Occupy Movement, 63% thought these measures are enough, 22% thought the opposite.

 

 

Finding and error[14]

Yes

No

Don’t know /
hard to say

Total

Financial Secretary said, our external trade performance will be affected by a host of uncertainties this year. We shall need to rely on domestic demand to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment. Do you think the proposals by Financial Secretary in Budget can help to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment?

40+/-4%

40+/-4%

20+/-4%

100%

[14] 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.

 

According to the Financial Secretary, our external trade performance will be affected by a host of uncertainties this year and we shall need to rely on domestic demand to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment, 40% thought the measures proposed in Budget can help to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment, whereas 40% of the respondents thought the opposite.

 

 

Finding and error[15]

Support

Half-half

Oppose

Don’t know /
hard to say

Total

Net Support

There is a saying that the budget plan mainly benefits the middle class. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this saying?

50+/-4%

20+/-4%

25+/-4%

4+/-2%

100%

25+/-7%

[15] 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.

 

Besides, 50% of the respondents agreed with the saying that the budget plan mainly benefits the middle class, while 25% disagreed with 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[16]

Dissatisfied with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement[16]

Net satisfaction rate

Mean value[16]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair[17]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair [17]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable[17]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable[17]

26-27/2/
2015[18]

520

36+/-4%

31+/-4%

5+/-7%

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=489)

62+/-4%

28+/-4%

30+/-4%

56+/-4%

27-28/2/
2014[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

517

34+/-4%

30+/-4%

4+/-7%

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=469)

60+/-4%

31+/-4%

27+/-4%

62+/-4%

26/2/
2009[18]

525

30+/-4%

34+/-4%

-4+/-7%

2.9+/-0.1
(Base=497)

64+/-4%

29+/-4%

29+/-4%

62+/-4%

28/2/
2008[18]

525

60+/-4%

12+/-3%

48+/-6%

3.6+/-0.1
(Base=497)

67+/-4%

22+/-4%

42+/-4%

45+/-4%

28/2/
2007[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

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[18]

502

45+/-5%

14+/-3%

32+/-7%

3.4+/-0.1
(Base=333)

--

--

--

--

8/3/
2000[18]

856

60+/-4%

9+/-2%

51+/-5%

3.6+/-0.1
(Base=628)

--

--

--

--

18/2/
1998[18]

804

42+/-3%

13+/-2%

29+/-5%

3.4+/-0.1
(Base=599)

--

--

--

--

[16] 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.
[17] Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
[18] 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 36% were satisfied with the government’s strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 31% were dissatisfied, thus net satisfaction stands at positive 5 percentage points, and mean value at 3.0, meaning “half-half”. With respect to Hong Kong’s tax system, 62% considered it fair, whilst 28% thought it unfair. Last of all, 30% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 56% who regarded it unreasonable.


Commentary

Frank Lee, Research Manager of Public Opinion Programme, observed, “Our surveys show that people’s instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was rather positive, with a net satisfaction of positive 28 percentage points, representing a significant increase from the instant survey conducted last year. As for the rating of the Budget, this year’s instant survey gives a rating of 60.2 marks. Both figures reach their new highs since 2010. This year, public sentiment has not changed much after one to two days’ media coverage. The latest satisfaction rate stands at 44%, dissatisfaction rate 20%, net satisfaction rate goes down slightly to positive 24 percentage points, while satisfaction rating also goes down slightly by 0.5 to 59.7 marks. This shows people’s response remains positive 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 second follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our latest survey, people generally feel that the relief measures to the public and the support measures to industries affected by the Occupy Movement suggested by the Financial Secretary this year are enough, but they tend to think the budget plan mainly benefits the middle class, while their opinions are split on whether or not the proposals by the FS in Budget can help to maintain economic vibrancy and preserve employment. In terms of macroscopic appraisal of Hong Kong’s economic condition, 62% consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but 56% consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Meanwhile, 36% are satisfied with the government’s fiscal policies, 31% are dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction of positive 5 percentage points. The results are better than those of last year in general.”



Future Release (Tentative)

  • March 10, 2015 (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 2015 Financial Budget) |