HKU POP SITE releases the results of the Budget follow-up surveyBack


Press Release on March 21, 2006

 

| Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | Some FAQs of Opinion Research | Detailed Findings |

Latest Figures
 

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the results of the Budget follow-up survey. For 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. The Budget instant poll this year was previously released on February 23, while the findings of the follow-up survey are released today. As a general practice, all figures have been weighted according to the provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in 2005 year-end. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:


  Year of survey  Date of survey   Sample base   Overall response rate   Sampling error of percentages* 
  2006 Follow-up poll  13-17/3   1,010   59.4%   +/- 3% 
  2006 Instant poll  22/2    1,026     68.3%     +/-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. 

As different questions involve different sub-samples, the sample errors will vary accordingly. The table below briefly shows the relationship between sampling errors and sample size for the readers to capture the corresponding changes: 

Sample size
(total sample or sub-sample) 
 Sampling error for percentages*(maximum value)   Sample size
(total sample or sub-sample) 
 Sampling error for percentages*(maximum value)
 1,300    +/- 2.8 %   1,350    +/- 2.7 % 
 1,200    +/- 2.9 %   1,250    +/- 2.8 % 
 1,100    +/- 3.0 %   1,150    +/- 3.0 % 
 1,000    +/- 3.2 %   1,050    +/- 3.1 % 
 900    +/- 3.3 %   950    +/- 3.2 % 
 800    +/- 3.5 %   850    +/- 3.4 % 
 700    +/- 3.8 %   750    +/- 3.7 % 
 600    +/- 4.1 %   650    +/- 3.9 % 
 500    +/- 4.5 %   550    +/- 4.3 % 
 400    +/- 5.0 %   450    +/- 4.7 % 

* Based on 95% confidence interval.

Results of the Budget follow-up poll, together with the instant poll, are tabulated below:


    Instant poll   Follow-up poll     Latest Change(percentage) 
  Date of survey  22/2   13-17/3   -- 
  Overall response rate  68.3%   59.4%   -- 
  Sample base for each question/percentage of answer  Base   %   Base   %   -- 
  Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate*#  577   50   927   42   -8 
  Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate *#  577   19   927   22   +3 
  Satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement *  1,026   36   1,010   49   +13 
  Dissatisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement *  1,026   15   1,010   16   +1 
  Agreed to FS' proposal that the government should not increase expenditure or substantially reduce taxes  576   59   653   60   +1 
  Disagreed to FS' proposal that the government should not increase expenditure or substantially reduce taxes  576   31   653   31   -- 
  Regarded tax relief measures adequate  643   37   543   34   -3 
  Regarded tax relief measures inadequate  643   53   543   54   +1 
  Agreed the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)  629   37   569   28   -9 
  Disagree the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)  629   58   569   66   +8 
  Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair*  600   55   593   62   +7 
  Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair*  600   34   593   29   -5 
  Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable*  621   32   656   32   -- 
  Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable*  621   55   656   56   +1 

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
# Excluding respondents who had not heard of the Budget.

The follow-up poll in mid-March revealed that, after excluding those respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, 42% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 22% were dissatisfied. Of 1,010 respondents, 49% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 16% were dissatisfied.

As for FS Henry Tang's monetary perspectives, 60% agreed with his principle that "a government should manage public finances prudently and keep expenditure within the limits of revenues market leads and government facilitates", whereas 31% disagreed. Regarding the specific measures suggested in the Budget, 34% regarded Henry Tang's tax relief measures adequate, while 54% thought them inadequate. Besides, only 28% inclined to support to collect Goods and Services Tax, whilst 66% held the contrary view. 

With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 62% considered it fair, whilst 29% thought it unfair. Last of all, 32% regarded the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 56% who considered it unreasonable.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, analyzed, 「Over the past seven years, people's receptiveness of the government's Budget drops after it has been debated for some time. This seems to be a common phenomenon. Take Henry Tang's three Budgets as examples, people's satisfaction dropped 5 percentage points in 2004, between our instant and follow-up polls. In 2005 and also this year, they both dropped 8 percentage points. Nevertheless, this year's satisfaction rate of 42% is still the highest among all three follow-up polls in a row. On specific items, people generally agree that government should "manage public finances prudently within the limits of revenues", do not think the tax relief measures are sufficient for the government to "share wealth with the people within its capability", and consider the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable. Figures for these three items did not change much between our instant and follow-up polls. On the other hand, people's satisfaction with the government's fiscal policies has shot up to 49% in our follow-up poll, while opposition to the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has increased significantly to 66%, and those who considered Hong Kong's tax system to be fair has also increased significantly to 62%.」

News about POP

POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday afternoon via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the next 7 days. According to schedule, our next release of regular survey findings will be March 23, 2006, Thursday, between 1pm to 2 pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government will be released. Then on March 28, 2006, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2pm, we will release latest figures of people's satisfaction with the performances of the Legislative Council members in general, the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong garrison and the Hong Kong Police Force.

Our general practice is to answer all questions on the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site as soon as we receive them, but we will not further comment on the findings. We welcome questions for follow-up purpose, please email them to us at <[email protected]>. 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 POP, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.

Starting this year, we have included a small educational section in our regular press release for the purpose of general civic education, the content of which was based on previous questions and comments we have received from the public. The subject of our education section today is 「FAQs of Opinion Research」.

Some FAQs of Opinion Research

Q: Why does sample size for different questions vary in the same survey?
A: This is quite common, ands there are three reasons. (1) Some questions in a survey logically only apply to certain respondents. For example, respondents supporting or opposing certain propositions are further prompted with questions 「why support」 or 「why oppose」. They cannot be asked at the same time. (2) Some questions are deliberately skipped by design, in order to reduce the load on individual respondents. For example, a questionnaire may comprise sections A, B and C, all with many questions. By design, each interview questionnaire may only comprise AB, BC and AC, or perhaps only AB and AC because A comprises core questions. The sub-sample size for different parts of the survey would then vary. (3) A number of respondents refused to answer a certain question, and the effective sample size is reduced.

Q: Would different sample size for different questions affect the sampling error?
A: Absolutely. Readers should therefore pay attention to the sub-sample size of different questions, if they differ from the overall sample.



 | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | Some FAQs of Opinion Research | Detailed Findings |