HKU POP SITE releases findings of the first round District Council election surveyBack


Press Release on October 19, 2003
 

Whenever there are large-scale elections, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong would conduct regular surveys to track opinion changes. On election days, POP would also conduct exit polls to study voter behaviour and motivation. As District Council Elections draw near, the research team has already conducted one round of pre-election telephone surveys in mid-September, findings of which are released today in the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk). Major findings are summarized below, together with parallel figures obtained in 1999:

 
 Date of survey 15-17/9/99 15-17-9/03
 Sample base (residents of age 18 or above) 536 1,030
 Overall response rate 47.9% 70.1%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/-4% +/-3%
 
 Awareness level of the election 35% 19%
 Critical consideration: political alignment 6% 10%
 Critical consideration: stand on livelihood issues 78% 77%
 Main factor: past performance 42% 38%
 Main factor: platform 24% 35%

* "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.

 

Two months before this year's elections, only 19% of the respondents were aware of the coming District Council Elections in November, or 16 percentage points lower than that in 1999. Among registered voters, 67% said they intended to vote, or 2 percentage points lower than 1999. (Please note that 67% intention to vote may not convert into 67% turnout.)

 

Results also showed that if the respondents were to vote, 77% would choose their candidate according to that person's stand on livelihood issues, 10% said the candidate's political alignment would be decisive. As for specific factors, 38% and 35% respectively considered a candidate's past performance and political platform to be most important. When compared to parallel findings of 1999, the former has dropped by 4 percentage points, whereas the latter has increased by 11 percentage points.

 

Given a free choice, 65% of the respondents would prefer voting for individual candidates, 17% would prefer voting for political parties. Among the respondents, 24% said they would support the democrats, 5% said the Pro-China camp. The majority considered themselves to be moderates or non-partisan.

 

Finally, among registered voters, 42% said the newly elected District Councillors should first tackle livelihood problems, 20% and 17% respectively opted for local district and economic problems.

 
 Date of survey 15-17/9/99 15-17-9/03
 Sub-sample base (registered voters) 366 714
 Overall response rate 47.9% 70.1%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/-5% +/-4%
 
 Proportion of voters who planned to vote in DC Election 69% 67%
 First problem to be tackled: livelihood 40% 42%
 First problem to be tackled: local district problems 23% 20%
 First problem to be tackled: economy 7% 17%
 First problem to be tackled: employment/labour 7% 10%

* "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.

 

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, made the following analysis: "Survey shows that voters' intention to vote in the coming election, at this preliminary stage, is more or less the same as that in 1999. However, candidates' political platform and alignment appear to have become more important than in 1999. Since there might be a number of large-scale rallies and campaigns at a later stage, voters' intention to vote may surge after that."

 

POP will continue to monitor the development of the elections. Further results may be published by our project sponsors, followed by our POP Site. Shall anyone have any question regarding the research design of these surveys, members of the POP Team will be happy to answer them, but we will not further comment on the findings. Shall any person or journalist have any other questions, please email them to us at <[email protected]>. The Director of Public Opinion Programme would answer them as soon as possible. Please note that everything carried in the POP Site does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong.