HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on June 25, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| Detailed Findings (Second Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |

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.

On June 10, 2007, POP released the findings of the first opinion survey of this tracking series on political reform via the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) and the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) simultaneously. Today, we release the findings of the second opinion survey using the same means. 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   Sample base   Overall response rate   Sampling error of percentages* 
 18-22/6/07   1,026   65.1%   +/- 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?

In June 2007, POP started to conduct this series of survey. In the first regular opinion survey conducted between June 1 to 7, 2007, the following questions were also used in addition to the three questions above. They were:

  • 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? (This is the pan-democrats' proposal for the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive in 2012.)

  • 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?

  • 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? (This is the pan-democrats' proposal for the universal suffrage of the Legislative Councillors in 2012.)

  • Do you think universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally?

Three of the above questions were also adopted in the second survey conducted between June 18 and 22. Latest results are as follows:

 
 Date of survey 1-7/6/2007 18-22/6/2007 Latest Change
 Sample base 1,022 1,026 --
 Overall response rate 59.7% 65.1% --
 Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)* +/-3% +/-3% --
 Regarding the Chief Executive election in 2012, it is proposed that 400 directly elected district councillors 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% 57% +5%
 Half-half 22% 17% -5%
 Oppose 17% 14% -3%
 Don't know/hard to say 10% 13% +3%
 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% 45% +5%
 Half-half 21% 18% -3%
 Oppose 21% 15% -6%
 Don't know/hard to say 19% 22% +3%
 Do you think universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally?
 Should 48% 46% -2%
 Should not 37% 36% -1%
 Should not hold July 1 rally 1% 3% +2%
 Don't know/hard to say 13% 15% +2%
* "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.
 

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. Results of our survey conducted in the middle and last then ten days of June showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 57%, versus 14% 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. Results of our survey conducted in the middle and last then ten days of June showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 45%, versus 15% opposition.

Findings of the survey also showed that 46% of the respondents said that universal suffrage should become the main theme of this year's July 1 rally, while 36% held the opposite view.

Regarding people's support of other two ideas, our latest findings are as follows:

 It is proposed that a sort of prior vetting mechanism would be added to the Chief Executive election to secure the acceptance of candidates by the Central government. Then the Chief Executive would be elected by the public on a "one-person-one-vote" basis. Do you support or oppose to this kind of prior vetting mechanism?**
 Support  45%  Half-half  18%  Oppose  25%  Don't know/hard to say  11%  Total  100%
 There is another proposal that a prior communication channel would be added to the Chief Executive election, instead of a prior vetting mechanism. That means those who would like to stand for the Chief Executive election had to communicate with the Central government first through this sort of channel before they could turn to be candidates, lest the Chief Executive selected by the public would gain no acceptance from the Central government. Do you support or oppose to the setting up of this sort of prior communication channel?*
 Support  52%  Half-half  14%  Oppose  25%  Don't know/hard to say  9%  Total  100%

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

Regarding the suggestion of adding some kind of prior vetting mechanism to the Chief Executive election to secure the acceptance of candidates by the Central government, findings showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 45% versus 25% opposition. As for the idea to add a prior communication channel to the Chief Executive election, instead of a prior vetting mechanism, the idea attained a support rate of 52% versus 25% opposition.

Finally, regarding the green paper on political development review to be issued soon, the survey also asked respondents how long the consultation period should last for. The result is as follows:

 The government will soon issue a green paper on political development review regarding the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative councilors for public consultation. How long do you think this consultation should last for?
 1 to 3 months 24% 4 to 6 months 45%    
 7 to 9 months 3% 10 to 12 months 9%    
 Over 12 months 1% Don't know/hard to say/depends 20% Total 100%
 Median 6 months Average 6.1 months Error* +/-0.2 month

* "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 showed that 24% of the respondents said that the consultation on the green paper on political development review should last for 1 to 3 months, while 45% thought it should consult 4 to 6 months and 13% opt for more than 6 months. 20% did not give an affirmative answer. The median and average values were both 6 months.


Commentary

With respect to the research design of this survey, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, 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 tracking 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. This survey did not repeat the questions on people's views on the schedule of universal suffrage because we did not expect the result to change much over the past two weeks. We therefore would like to spare some resources to test some concepts and proposals which have drawn public attention recently, and we have chosen the ideas of 'prior vetting mechanism' and 'prior communication channel'. However, since these ideas still lack concrete details, we have connected them to the concept of 'acceptance of the candidates by the Central government' in a broad sense. As I wrote in the last press release, many of the so-called 'proposals' are still quite vague and not thoroughly discussed by the public. Opinion figures at this stage could only be taken as very preliminary."

On the survey results, Robert Chung analyzed, "This survey continues to use questions starting with 'it is proposed such and such' in order to avoid labeling effect when we measure people's support for pan-democrats' proposals regarding universal suffrage for CE and Legco in 2012. Our latest findings show that the support rates for these two proposals now stand at 57% and 45%, both being 5 percentage points higher than those of the last survey. With respect to the 'prior vetting mechanism' and 'prior communication channel' for CE election, our survey shows that they are supported by 45% and 52% respectively. However, it should be noted that since these 'mechanisms' still lack concrete details, we only used the following wordings in our questions: 'It is proposed that some kind of prior vetting/communication mechanisms should be added to the CE election to secure the acceptance of candidates by the Central government before using one-person-one-vote'. The fact that 45% and 52% supported the mechanisms may mean that many people agree that the wish of the Central Government should be taken into consideration in the CE election, and that prefer communication more than vetting mechanisms. Exactly what mechanism is the best remains to be investigated. Finally, regarding the consultation period of the propsective green paper on political development review, our survey shows that people generally wish to have a 6-month consultation period. Only 24% would be satisfied with a 3-month consultation."

In the coming six months, POP will continue to conduct frequent surveys on political reform, as well as to collect public opinion through the online "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk). Robert Chung calls on all journalists and members of the public to make good use of the platform 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.

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 26, 2007, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2 pm, when the latest findings of people's opinions towards ethnic identity will be released. Then on June 28, 2007, Thursday, between 1pm to 2pm, POP will release the latest results of the Handover Anniversary survey.

 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| Detailed Findings (Second Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |