HKU POP releases findings of the second round District Council election surveyBack


Press Release on October 28, 2003
 

NNote: This release was first published by Cable TV on October 26, 2003, and then by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong on October 28 via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk). When using these survey findings, please acknowledge Cable TV as the sponsor, and POP as the independent researcher of this survey.

 

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 conducted the first round of pre-election telephone surveys in mid-September, and released the findings some time ago. Released herewith are the findings of the second round of pre-election telephone surveys, details of which have been posted at the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk). Major findings are summarized below, together with parallel figures obtained in September this year, as well as those in September and October of 1999:

 
 Date of survey 15-17/9/99 26-27/10/99 15-17/9/03 19-22/10/03
 Sample base (residents of age 18 or above) 536 535 1,030 1,017
 Overall response rate 47.9% 46.7% 70.1% 60.0%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/-4% +/-4% +/-3% +/-3%
 
 Awareness level of the election 35% 72% 19% 60%
 Critical consideration: political alignment 6% 7% 10% 11%
 Critical consideration: stand on livelihood issues 78% 82% 77% 79%
 Main factor: past performance 42% 44% 38% 40%
 Main factor: platform and political alignment 29% 34% 41% 35%
 Main factor: personal background and performance during election 7% 8% 8% 8%
 Voting preference: individual candidates - - 65% 65%
 Voting preference: political parties - - 17% 18%
 Preference on political camp: Democrats - - 24% 29%
 Preference on political camp: Moderates or non-partisan - - 33% 24%
 Preference on political camp: Pro-China - - 5% 4%

* "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.

 

Around one month before this year's elections, 60% of the respondents were aware of the coming District Council Elections in November, representing a significant increase of 41 percentage points from the previous month, but 12 percentage points lower than the corresponding figure of 1999. Among registered voters, 70% said they intended to vote. (Please note that 70% intention to vote may not convert into 70% turnout.)

 

The survey found that only 29% of the respondents could correctly point out there were appointed members in the District Council. When prompted, 44% opposed to the idea of appointed members, whereas 28% agreed.

 

Results also showed that, if the respondents were to vote, 79% would choose their candidate according to that person's stand on livelihood issues, 11% said the candidate's political alignment would be decisive. As for specific factors, 40% considered a candidate's past performance to be most important, 35% opted for platform and political alignment. When compared to parallel findings of 1999, the former has dropped by 4 percentage points.

 

Given a free choice, 65% of the respondents would prefer voting for individual candidates, 18% would prefer voting for political parties. Among the respondents, 29% said they would support the democrats, 4% said the Pro-China camp, while 24% considered themselves to be moderates or non-partisan.

 

Finally, among registered voters, 43% said the newly elected District Councillors should first tackle livelihood problems, 21% and 14% respectively opted for local district and economic problems.^

 
 Date of survey 15-17/9/99 26-27/10/99 15-17/9/03 19-22/10/03
 Sub-sample base (registered voters) 366 384 714 725
 Overall response rate 47.9% 46.7% 70.1% 60.0%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/-5% +/-5% +/-4% +/-4%
 
 Proportion of voters who planned to vote in DC Election 69% 70% 67% 70%
 First problem to be tackled: livelihood 40% 37% 42% 43%
 First problem to be tackled: local district problems 23% 25% 20% 21%
 First problem to be tackled: economy 7% 14% 17% 14%
 First problem to be tackled: employment/labour 7% 6% 10% 9%

* "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.

 

To study the influence of the July 1 Demonstration on the coming elections, comparisons were made between the answers given by those who participated in the July 1 Demonstration and those who did not. Results revealed that, of the 194 respondents who joined the demonstration, 26% would choose their candidate according to that person's political alignment, and 25% would prefer voting for political parties rather than for individual candidates. Both figures were much higher than those registered for the respondents who did not join the demonstration.

 

On the other hand, among registered voters, 35% said the July 1 Demonstration had increased their intention to vote in the District Council Elections. Meanwhile, of the registered voters who joined the demonstration, 60% said their intention to vote had been increased by the event, or 33 percentage points higher than the corresponding figure for registered voters who did not join the demonstration. Besides, 79% of registered voters who joined the July 1 Demonstration intended to vote in the District Council Elections, which was 12 percentage points higher than those who did not.

 
  Participants of July 1 Demonstration Non-participants of July 1 Demonstration
 Sub-sample base 194 811
 Critical consideration: political alignment 26% 7%
 Critical consideration: stand on livelihood issues 69% 82%
 Voting preference: individual candidates 68% 65%
 Voting preference: political parties 25% 16%
 
 Sub-sample base (registered voters) 172 552
 Intended to vote in DC Election 79% 67%
 No intention to vote in DC Election 8% 13%
 Voting intention increased by the July 1 Demonstration 60% 27%
 Voting intention decreased by the July 1 Demonstration 3% 5%
 Voting intention unchanged by the July 1 Demonstration 36% 63%
 

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, made the following analysis: "Survey results clearly show that, although voters who joined the July 1 Demonstration only constitute a small proportion of all registered voters, their intention to vote and their political demands are significantly higher than other voters. In constituencies where competition is keen, their votes can be decisive. Regarding voters' intention to vote in general, however, the current figures are not much different from those of 1999. Meanwhile, people's awareness level of the coming elections at this stage is even lower than that in 1999."

 

POP will continue to monitor the development of the elections. Further results will be published in accordance with our normal practice. 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.

 

^ Percentages of the overall sample were included in this paragraph in the original release. Because their presentation could be misleading, they have been deleted.