HKU POP SITE releases second survey on Chief Executive electionBack

Press Release on June 13, 2005

In 1996, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong conducted many rounds of surveys on the Chief Executive election, most of which were conducted after Tung Chee-hwa formally announced his intention to stand for the election. In May this year, as soon as Donald Tsang formally announced that he would stand for the CE election, we switched on our CE election polling routine. In our first round of survey, respondents were requested to rate the suitability of the 3 potential candidates widely reported by the media, and the results have already been released.


POP today releases via the "HKU POP SITE" ( the second round of survey on the CE election. Respondents' preferences for various potential candidates, their opinions of the ideal number of candidates, and their views on the election system itself, were gauged.


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. The contact information of relevant studies discussed in this release are tabulated as follows:

  1996 Survey 2005 Survey
 Date of survey 8/10/1996 23-24/10/1996 1-3/6/2005 6-8/6/2005
 Sample base 521 526 1,015 1,029
 Overall response rate 43.9% 46.5% 65.6% 66.0%
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)* +/- 4% +/- 4% +/- 3% +/- 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.


Results obtained in the latest survey concerning the respondents' preferences for potential candidates and their knowledge of the candidates' election platforms are summarized below:

  Donald Tsang Lee Wing-tat Chim Pui-chung
 First survey (1-3/6/2005)*
 Rate of suitability 77.6 39.0 29.6
 Second survey (6-8/6/2005)
 Support rate** 78% 3% <1%
 Knew the platform of one's preferred candidate "very much" or "fairly much" 9% 1% <1%
 Knew "half-half" of the platform of one's preferred candidate 29% 1% <1%
 Knew "very little" or "fairly little" of the platform of one's preferred candidate 34% 2% <1%
 Proportion who minded him becoming CE 4% 51% 63%
 Proportion of "support" + "don't mind" 94% 38% 26%

* This set of figures was released last week.
** Another 11% answered "will not choose any of them", 1% answered "don't know/hard to say/ho preference", and 1% refused to answer.


Our latest survey shows that, if the respondents had to choose among Donald Tsang, Lee Wing-tat and Chim Pui-chung to become the CE, 78% chose Donald Tsang, 3% chose Lee Wing-tat while less than 1% chose Chim Pui-chung, another 11% said they would not choose any of them. On the other hand, 63% of the respondents said they minded Chim Pui-chung becoming the CE, 51% minded Lee and 4% minded Tsang becoming the CE. The 78% of respondents who supported Donald Tsang included 9% who claimed they knew "a lot" or "quite a lot" about Tsang's platform. Another 34% said "little" or "very little", while 29% said "half-half".


This survey has also touched on people's opinions of the number of candidates and the election system. Findings are summarized as follows:

  All respondents Donald Tsang's supporters*
 Ideal number of candidates in CE election
 1 (i.e. elected unopposed) 2% 2%
 2 3% 2%
 3 18% 17%
 4 7% 6%
 5 or above (including "the more the better") 42% 32%
 Don't know/Hard to say/No preference 27% 18%
 Representativeness of Election Committee
 Very or quite representative 15% 14%
 Half-half 26% 22%
 Not at all or not quite representative 41% 30%

* The sample bases of Lee Wing-tat and Chim Pui-chung's supporters are too small to be shown. All percentages are calculated basing on the total sample of 1,029 cases.


Figures show that, 42% of the respondents believed the ideal number of candidates in the CE election should be more than 5, or even as many as possible. Besides, 41% held negative opinions on the representativeness of the Election Committee.


According to our records, a corresponding survey conducted in 1996 covering 5 potential candidates, including Tung Chee-hwa, Yang Ti-liang, Peter Woo, Li Fook-sean and Garcia Arthur, yielded the following results. Since the 3 candidates with the highest support ratings subsequently became the final candidates, the results of similar questions for these 3 candidates are tabulated for reference:

  Tung Chee-hwa Yang Ti-liang Peter Woo
 Date of survey 8/10/96 23-24/10/96 8/10/96 23-24/10/96 8/10/96 23-24/10/96
 Rate of suitability 62.7 65.7 61.8 61.3 54.7 56.1
 Support rating - 30% - 27% - 9%
 Proportion who mind him becoming CE 8% 9% 9% 8% 17% 22%
 Proportion of "support" + "don't mind" 76% 81% 80% 83% 61% 64%

Basing on the results of these surveys, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, made the following analysis:



In terms of suitability rating and support rate, Donald Tsang is way ahead of Lee Wing-tat and Chim Pui-chung. As in 1996, we have also used another set of questions to measure people's repulsion of the potential candidates. Results show that, 63% of the respondents minded Chim to become CE, 51% minded Lee and only 4% minded Tsang to become CE. This is totally different from the situation in 1996, when only 10% to 25% minded Tung Chee-hwa, Tang Ti-liang or Peter Woo becoming CE.



However, only a few of Donald Tsang's supporters said they had good knowledge of his election platform. In other words, people's support of Tsang is largely based on his track records rather than his forward commitments. The function of the CE election seems to be not fully in play.



Although Donald Tsang has obtained overwhelming support from the people, almost all respondents, including his supporters, did not want him to be elected unopposed. Over two-thirds of the respondents wished to see three or more candidates competing in the election, similar to the public mentality in 1996.



Concerning the representativeness of the Election Committee, only 15% regarded the Committee as representative. Most respondents, including Donald Tsang's supporters, thought the Committee was not representative enough.


Robert Chung explained, "Although Donald Tsang has already secured landslide support, people are seemingly not too happy with the election process and the legitimacy of the system. While Tsang can win the election almost for sure, he should do more to improve the political culture revolving CE elections."


POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday at 2 pm via our POP Site, but because we have added releases on CE election, the date and time of our next release of regular survey findings will be June 15, 2005, Wednesday, at 2 pm, when we will release the latest findings on people's satisfaction with the current social conditions and people's ethnic identity. 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.