HKU POP SITE releases findings of an instant poll on the BudgetBack


Press Release on March 17, 2005
 

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) an instant survey on people's instant reactions towards the Budget, including the latest figures on the popularity of Acting CE Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, FS Henry Tang Ying-yen and HKSAR Government. In the past many years, POP has conducted instant polls after the head of the government delivered his Policy Address, or after the Financial Secretary delivered his Budget Speech. Such instant polls, which measure people's instant reaction to the policies, would be followed weeks later by our follow-up surveys, which measure people's more matured reaction. We believe this is a better way to study public opinion on these issues. As a general practice, all figures have been weighted according to the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population obtained from the Population Census. Changes in the popularity figures of Donald Tsang, Henry Tang and HKSAR Government after the announcement of the Budget are first summarized as follows:

 
 CE's terms CH Tung's term Donald Tsang's term
 Date of survey 24-25/1 27-31/1 1-4/2 17-20/2 1-3/3 16/3 Latest change
 Sample base 1,003 1,023 1,019 1,026 1,019 1,041 --
 Overall response rate 65.0% 62.9% 61.5% 67.1% 63.1% 65.2% --
 Sampling error of ratings(at 95% conf. level)* +/- 1.4 +/- 1.4 +/- 1.4 +/- 1.4 +/- 1.4 +/- 1.0 --
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% --
 Rating of CE/Acting CE 47.5 46.1 46.1 48.4 47.9** 70.4 +22.5
 Vote of confidence in CE/Acting CE 18% 15% 13% 16% 18% 68% +50%
 Vote of no confidence in CE/Acting CE 66% 67% 67% 69% 69% 9% -60%
 Satisfaction rate of SARG performance*** 17% -- -- 20% -- 31% +11%
 Dissatisfaction rate of SARG performance*** 45% -- -- 39% -- 26% -13%
 Rating of FS Henry Tang -- -- 58.1 -- 59.7 63.3 +3.6
 Vote of confidence in FS Henry Tang -- -- 61% -- -- 64% +3%
 Vote of no confidence in FS Henry Tang -- -- 8% -- -- 5% -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.
** The parallel rating of Donald Tsang as Chief Secretary was 63.7 marks.
*** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

 

The install poll conducted last night showed that, Acting CE Donald Tsang scored 70.4 marks, and 68% supported him as the Chief Executive. Besides, regarding people's appraisal of the overall performance of the HKSAR Government, the latest figures revealed that 31% were satisfied, whereas 26% were dissatisfied. As for FS Henry Tang who has just announced his Budget, his latest rating registered was 63.3 marks, with a support rate of 64%.

 

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, analyzed, "After Donald Tsang became the Acting Chief Executive, his popularity rating surged from 63.7 marks early this month to 70.4 marks. Taking CE's popularity on its own, support rating has shot up by 22.5 marks, while support rate has surged 50 percentage points. The satisfaction rate of the SAR Government has also gone up by 11 percentage points, whereas the dissatisfaction rate has gone down by 13 percentage points, back to that in April 2000. This shows the advantage of changing the CE. In terms of popularity, Donald Tsang has apparently entered his honeymoon, but whether he can maintain this advantage in the long run depends very much on his performance in the coming two or three months."

 

With respect to people's satisfaction with this year's Budget, the figures are summarized below:

 
 Date of survey Sampling error of percentages* Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate** Appraisal of Budget: Half-half Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate **
 16/3/05 +/- 4% 48% 29% 11%
 10/3/04 +/- 5% 37% 33% 12%
 5/3/03 +/- 4% 20% 23% 50%
 6/3/02 +/- 4% 47% 23% 17%
 7-8/3/01 +/- 6% 57% 25% 13%
 8/3/00 +/- 4% 70% 12% 4%
 3/3/99 +/- 4% 46% 27% 10%
 18/2/98 +/- 4% 55% 20% 7%

* "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. Figures listed in this table have already excluded respondents who said they did not know the content of the budget. Because of the smaller sub-sample size, the sampling error has increased accordingly. Sub-sample bases can be found in the website.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

 

After excluding those respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, this year's instant poll showed that 48% were satisfied with it, 11% were dissatisfied and 29% said "half-half". Because many of the respondents said they had not heard of the Budget during the instant poll, the valid sub-sample of this item was smaller than that for other questions. The sampling error for this question has increased accordingly. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

 
 Date of survey 16/3/05
 Sample base 1,041
 Overall response rate 65.2%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/- 3%
  Positive percentage Negative percentage Don't know / Hard to say Total
 The Financial Secretary said he would uphold the principle of "Market Leads, Government Facilitates". Do you agree to this idea? 71% 8% 21% 100%
 The Financial Secretary today made several tax relief proposals, which include abolishing estate duty, introducing allowances for taxpayers taking care of dependent parents or grandparents aged between 55 and 59, as well as increasing the child allowance from $30,000 per child to $40,000. Do you think these tax relief measures are adequate? 53% 36% 11% 100%
 The Financial Secretary today proposed that there would be no adjustment in the duty on alcoholic beverages and rates charge, as well as no introduction of new tax items at this stage. Do you agree to these measures? 71% 18% 11% 100%

* "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.

 

While Henry Tang said he would uphold the principle of "Market Leads, Government Facilitates", of the 1,041 respondents, 71% agreed with such idea whereas 8% disagreed. As regards the specific proposals suggested in the Budget, 53% regarded Henry Tang's tax relief proposals adequate, while 36% thought them inadequate. Besides, 71% welcomed the proposed measures of "no adjustment in the duty on alcoholic beverages and rates charge, as well as no introduction of new tax items", whilst 18% did not.

 

With respect to the people's satisfaction with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, together with other relevant issues, the figures are summarized below:

 
 Date of survey 18/2/98 8/3/00 7-8/3/01 6/3/02 5/3/03 10/3/04 16/3/05 Latest change
 Sample base 804 856 502 1,041 1,047 1,023 1,041 --
 Overall response rate 54.7% 56.4% 67.1% 59.9% 71.4% 64.7% 65.2% --
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/- 4% +/- 3% +/- 4% +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% +/- 3% --
 Satisfaction rate with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement** 42% 60% 45% 26% 12% 18% 29% +11%
 Dissatisfaction rate with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement** 13% 9% 14% 21% 45% 29% 15% -14%
 Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair ** -- -- -- 55% 51% 58% 59% +1%
 Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair** -- -- -- 29% 33% 31% 27% -4%
 Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable** -- -- -- 25% 19% 22% 29% +7%
 Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable** -- -- -- 52% 60% 62% 51% -11%

* "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.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

 

Findings showed that 29% of the respondents were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 15% were dissatisfied. Meanwhile, 59% of the respondents considered Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, 27% viewed it unfair. As for the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong, 29% perceived the distribution reasonable, whereas 51% considered it unreasonable.

 

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, analyzed again: "All in all, people's reaction to this year's Budget is quite positive, especially on Henry Tang's proposal of no tax adjustment. People are also quite receptive of 'market leads and government facilitates' principle, which boosted Tang's popularity rating by 3.6 marks. However, although almost 60% of the public considered Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, over half considered the distribution of wealth unreasonable, and less than 30% were satisfied with the government's fiscal policies. These are areas which the government should carefully look into."

 

POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday at 2 pm via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the forthcoming week. We will review and adjust this operation regularly. According to this schedule, the date and time of our next release will be March 22, 2005, Tuesday, at 2 pm. We will release the latest results of people's satisfaction with the current social conditions, as well as their appraisal of the present Hong Kong economic, social and political conditions, by looking back and ahead. The latter will be released for the first time.

 

Shall anyone have any question regarding the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site, 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. We will keep such an arrangement under constant review, suggestions most welcome. Please note that everything carried in the POP Site does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong. Dr Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.