HKU POP SITE releases new survey on political reformBack


Press Release on June 10, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| Detailed Findings (Public opinion survey on political reform 2007) |

Background
 

Since its establishment in 1991, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong has been conducting different types of opinion studies on social and political issues, as well as providing research services for different organizations, on condition that POP would design and conduct all studies independently, and could also release the findings for public consumption. In May 2007, 22 pro-democratic Legislative Councillors commissioned POP to conduct regular opinion surveys on political reform, in order to gauge people's views on universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council. Such surveys are to be conducted twice every month and would last for half a year.

Besides, POP has also set up the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk), which encompasses the "Political Reform Opinion Platform" (PROP) for the public to express their views on political reform. PROP is partially sponsored by 22 pan-democratic Legislative Councillors, it is designed and operated independently by POP.

POP today releases the findings of public opinion survey on political reform for the first time via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) and "PROP" (http://hkpop.hk) simultaneously. Readers are welcome to express their views on the platform, while journalists are also welcome to raise questions on the platform as registered members, or email them to <[email protected]>. We will reply as soon as possible.


 
Latest Figures
 

The latest survey findings released by POP today 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 at the end of 2006. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:


 Date of survey  Overall sample size   Response rate   Sampling error of percentages* 
 1-7/6/2007   1,022   59.7%   +/- 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.
 

Between July 2003 and May 2004, POP adopted the following questions to gauge people's demand for universal suffrage:

  • Some people in our society are demanding for a general election of the Chief Executive in 2007. Do you agree to this demand?

  • Do you think such a demand (general election of the Chief Executive in 2007) will materialize?

  • Some people in our society are demanding for a general election of the Legislative Council members in 2008. Do you agree to this demand?

  • Do you think such a demand (general election of all LC members in 2008) will materialize?

Nine such surveys have been conducted. Please refer to the POP Site for details. On April 26, 2004, the 10th National People's Congress Standing Committee made a ruling to interpret the Basic Law, on matters relating to universal suffrage of the Chief Executive in 2007 and the Legislative Council in 2008. Soon after, POP changed the wording of our tracking questions, and began to use the following questions to gauge people's views on the schedule of universal suffrage:

  • Article 45 of Basic Law states that the method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. Which year do you think the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage should be implemented?

  • Article 68 of Basic Law states that the method for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. Which year do you think the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage should be implemented?

  • Do you think Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage?

Latest results of the above survey questions are as follows:

 
  Date of survey  30/11-1/12/05   9-12/12/05   1-7/6/2007   Latest Change 
  Sample base  514   511   1,022   -- 
  Overall response rate  64.7%   70.7%   59.7%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*  +/-4%   +/-4%   +/-3%   -- 
  Article 45 of Basic Law states that the method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. Which year do you think the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage should be implemented?
  The sooner the better/2007 or earlier  27%   29%   10%   -19% 
  Between 2008 and 2012  35%   30%   43%   +13% 
  Between 2013 and 2017  11%   8%   18%   +10% 
  Between 2018 and 2022  1%   2%   4%   +2% 
  2023or later  1%   2%   5%   +3% 
  Don't know/hard to say  26%   30%   20%   -10% 
  Article 68 of Basic Law states that the method for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. Which year do you think the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage should be implemented?
  The sooner the better  9%   11%   9%   -2% 
  2008 (or earlier)  27%   27%   21%   -6% 
  Between 2009 and 2012  26%   23%   34%   +11% 
  Between 2013 and 2016  7%   7%   8%   +1% 
  Between 2017 and 2020  1%   2%   5%   +3% 
  2021or later  2%   1%   3%   +2% 
  Don't know/hard to say  28%   30%   19%   -11% 

  Date of survey  26-29/5/06   1-7/6/2007   Latest Change 
  Sample base  511   1,022   -- 
  Overall response rate  63.4%   59.7%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*  +/-4%   +/-3%   -- 
  Do you think Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage?
  Sufficient  59%   56%   -3% 
  Not sufficient  28%   37%   +9% 
  Don't know/hard to say  13%   8%   -5% 
* "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.
 

Findings obtained in early June showed that, 53% said the Chief Executive should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 18% chose between 2013 and 2017. The percentages of people who opted "between 2018 and 2022", "2023 or later" and "don't know/hard to say" are 4%, 5% and 20% correspondingly. Regarding return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, 30% said it should be implemented by 2008, while 34% chose "between 2009 to 2012". The percentages of people who opted "between 2013 to 2016", "between 2017 to 2020", "2021 or later" and "don't know/hard to say" are 8%, 5%, 3% and 19% correspondingly. Besides, 56% believed Hong Kong's condition is sufficient to introduce universal suffrage while 37% said insufficient.

Regarding people's support of specific political reform proposals, our latest results as follows:

  Regarding the Chief Executive election in 2012, it is proposed that 400 directly elected district councilors should be added to the existing 800-member Election Committee, adding up to a total of approximately 1,200 committee members. The number of subscribers required should be 50 regardless of the sector they belong to. The Chief Executive should ultimately be elected by universal suffrage. Do you support or oppose this proposal?*
 Support   52%   Half-half   22%   Oppose   17%   Don't know/hard to say   10%   Total   100% 
  There is another proposal to expand the constituencies of some of the 800-member Election Committee, and then change the election committee into a nominating committee. One-tenth of the committee members can nominate one candidate to stand for the Chief Executive election, who would be returned by universal suffrage. Do you support or oppose this proposal?*
 Support   45%   Half-half   21%   Oppose   19%   Don't know/hard to say   14%   Total   100% 
  Regarding the Legislative Council election in 2012, it is proposed that a mixed election model would be adopted, whereby half of the seats would be returned by a "single seat single vote" simple majority system. The other half of the seats would be returned through elections by the "proportional representation system" so that each voter can cast two votes. Do you support or oppose this proposal?*
 Support   40%   Half-half   21%   Oppose   21%   Don't know/hard to say   19%   Total   100% 

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

Regarding the selection of the Chief Executive in 2012, one of the proposals is that 400 directly elected district councilors would be added to the existing 800-member Election Committee, adding up to a total of approximately 1,200 committee members. The number of subscribers required would be 50 regardless of the sector they belong to. The Chief Executive would finally be returned by universal suffrage. This proposal attained a support rate of 52%, versus 17% opposition. Another proposal is to expand the constituencies of some of the 800-member Election Committee, and then change the election committee into a nominating committee. One-tenth of the committee members can nominate one candidate to stand for the Chief Executive election, who would be returned by universal suffrage. This proposal attained a support rate of 45%, versus 19% opposition.

As for the Legislative Council election in 2012, one of the proposals is to adopt a mixed election model, whereby half of the seats would be returned by a "single seat single vote" simple majority system. The other half of the seats would be returned through elections by the "proportional representation system" so that each voter can cast two votes. This proposal attained a support rate of 40%, versus 21% opposition.

Finally, the survey also asked the respondents whether universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally. The result is as follows:

  Do you think universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally?
 Should   48%   Should not   37%   Should not hold July 1 rally   1%   Don't know/hard to say   13%   Total   100% 


Findings showed that 48% of the respondents said that universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally, while 37% held the opposite view.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Between July 2003 and May 2004, mainly before the NPC Standing Committee ruled out universal suffrage in 2007/08*, POP's regular surveys showed that consistently more than half of the population wanted universal suffrage in 2007/08, even though very few people actually believed it would come true. Shortly after NPCSC made the ruling, POP changed the wording of the tracking questions, and began to track people's views on the schedule of universal suffrage. A survey conducted in mid-December 2005, shortly before Legco vetoed the reform package proposed by the SAR Government, showed that 59% of the population said the Chief Executive should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, including 29% who opted for 2007 or before. As for Legco, 38% at that time said Legco should be returned by universal suffrage by 2008. Now, after one and a half years, people's focus has shifted to universal suffrage in 2012. According to our latest survey, 53% now believe that CE should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 64% believe Legco should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012. If we use 2012 as the cut-off year, we can conclude that public opinion has not changed much over these one and a half years. There is a drop of 6 percentage points regarding the universal suffrage for CE in 2012, but a rise of 3 percentage points regarding universal suffrage for Legco in 2012. The percentage of those who said Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage has dropped 3 percentage points."

Regarding the degree of public support for specific political reform proposals, Robert Chung explained, "This survey has mainly measured people's support for pan-democrats' proposals regarding universal suffrage for CE and Legco in 2012. In line with our general practice, we have used questions starting with 'it is proposed that…' without mentioning names, in order to avoid labeling effect. Our findings show that the support rates of pan-democrats' CE and Legco proposals now stand at 52% and 40%. On the other hand, we have also measured the proposal put forward by Former Chief Secretary Anson Chan's Core Group to widen the constituency of the Election Committee, again without mentioning names. Its support rate now stands at 45%. It should be noted, however, that many of the so-called proposals are still quite vague and not thoroughly discussed by the public. Opinion figures at this stage should, therefore, be used for preliminary reference only."

In the coming six months, POP will conduct frequent surveys on people's views on political reform. Regarding the operation of these surveys, Robert Chung explained, "According to the agreement reached between POP and the pan-democrats, POP will measure people's support for the pan-democrats' proposals in every survey, while all other questions would be left for POP to decide. Moreover, the design and analysis of all questions will rest entirely at POP's discretion. Furthermore, the pan-democrats have also agreed to sponsor POP's online "Political Reform Opinion Platform", in order to demonstrate how independent consultation should be done."

Robert Chung called on all journalists and members of the public to make good use of the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) in order to show the power of civil society. Members of the general public can become registered members of the platform at any time, and then make free submissions. Journalists, on the other hand, can raise questions to us at any time, by sending emails to <[email protected]>. We will reply as soon as possible, and upload all questions and answers to the platform at appropriate times, to enhance our collective wisdom.

* The last survey was actually conducted shortly after NPCSC's ruling, this was not made explicit in our original press release.

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 June 12, 2007, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2 pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and Principal Officials under the accountability system will be released. Then on June 14, 2007, Thursday, between 1pm to 2pm, POP will release the latest figures on the popularity of SAR and Central Governments, and people's confidence in the future.

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| Detailed Findings (Public opinion survey on political reform 2007) |