HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on July 9, 2007

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary
| Detailed Findings (Third Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |

Background
 

In May 2007, 22 pan-democratic Legislative Councillors reached an agreement with the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong, whereby POP would conduct, roughly twice a month, regular opinion surveys to gauge people's views on universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council. Moreover, the pan-democrats would also sponsor POP to set up an online "Political Reform Opinion Platform" (PROP) at the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) for the public to express their views on political reform. The platform is designed and operated independently by POP.

On June 10 and 25, 2007, POP released the findings of the first and second opinion surveys 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 third 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 we can.

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* 
 3-6/7/07   1,011   63.3%   +/- 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.

In June 2007, POP started to conduct this survey series. Please refer to the POP Site regarding questions adopted in the first and second regular opinion surveys conducted between June 1 to 7, 2007 and June 18 and 22 respectively. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

 
  Date of survey  1-7/6/2007   18-22/6/2007   3-6/7/2007   Latest Change^ 
  Sample base  1,022   1,026   1,011   -- 
  Overall response rate  59.7%   65.1%   63.3%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*  +/-3%   +/-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%   49%   -8% 
  Half-half  22%   17%   20%   +3% 
  Oppose  17%   14%   20%   +6% 
  Don't know/hard to say  10%   13%   12%   -1% 
  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%   48%   +3% 
  Half-half  21%   18%   19%   +1% 
  Oppose  21%   15%   19%   +4% 
  Don't know/hard to say  19%   22%   14%   -8% 
  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  10%   --   10%   -- 
  Between 2008 and 2012  43%   --   46%   +3% 
  Between 2013 and 2017  18%   --   16%   -2% 
  Between 2018 and 2022  4%   --   5%   +1% 
  2023 or later  5%   --   4%   -1% 
  Don't know/hard to say  20%   --   20%   -- 
  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%   --   10%   +1% 
   2008 (or earlier)  21%   --   22%   +1% 
   Between 2009 and 2012  34%   --   33%   -1% 
   Between 2013 and 2016  8%   --   8%   -- 
   Between 2017 and 2020  5%   --   5%   -- 
   2021or later  3%   --   2%   -1% 
   Don't know/hard to say  19%   --   19%   -- 
* "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.
^ The polling cycle for different items in the table varies. Parallel comparison across items should be synchronized.
 

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 early-July showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 49%, versus 20% 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 early-July showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 48%, versus 19% opposition.

Besides, 56% said the Chief Executive should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 16% 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 5%, 4% and 20% correspondingly. Regarding return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, 32% said it should be implemented by 2008, while 33% 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%, 2% and 19% correspondingly.

Besides, findings on people's opinion on the nomination of candidates by the nomination committee to stand for the Chief Executive election, are listed as follows:

If a nomination committee were to be set up to nominate or vet candidates for the 2012 Chief Executive election before entering the stage of universal suffrage, at least how many candidates do you think should be nominated? 

 1 candidate   2%   6 to 10 candidates   7%       
 2 candidates   13%   11 to 49 candidates   3%   More than 100 candidates   1% 
 3 candidates   34%   50 candidates   <1%   The more the better   4% 
 4 candidates   8%   51 to 99 candidates   <1%   Don't know/ hard to say   11% 
 5 candidates   18%   100 candidates   1%   Total   100% 
 Median   3 candidates   Mean   6.0 candidates   Error*   +/-0.8 candidates 

What do you think is the ideal number of candidates to be nominated by the nomination committee for the universal suffrage?

 1 candidate   1%   6 to 10 candidates   15%       
 2 candidates   4%   11 to 49 candidates   4%   More than 100 candidates   1% 
 3 candidates   21%   50 candidates   <1%   The more the better   6% 
 4 candidates   10%   51 to 99 candidates   <1%   Don't know/ hard to say   14% 
 5 candidates   22%   100 candidates   1%   Total   100% 
 Median   5 candidates   Mean   8.2 candidates   Error*   +/-1.1 candidates 

What do you think is the maximum number of candidates to be nominated by the nomination committee for the universal suffrage?

 1 candidate   <1%   6 to 10 candidates   29%       
 2 candidates   2%   11 to 49 candidates   9%   More than 100 candidates   2% 
 3 candidates   6%   50 candidates   2%   The more the better   4% 
 4 candidates   5%   51 to 99 candidates   1%   Don't know/ hard to say   11% 
 5 candidates   26%   100 candidates   2%   Total   100% 
 Median   6 candidates   Mean   13.7 candidates   Error*   +/-1.5 candidates 

* "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 34% of the respondents said that the nomination committee should at least nominate 3 candidates for people to elect by one person one vote, 26% said 4 to 5, while 11% said don't know. The median was 3 candidates while the mean was 6.0 candidates. As for the ideal number of candidates to be nominated, 21% of the respondents said 3, 10% said 4, 22% said 5, 15% said 6 to 10, 14% said don't know. The median was 5 candidates while the mean was 8.2 candidates. Regarding the maximum number, 26% said it should not exceed 5, 29% said it should not exceed 6 to 10, 9% said 11 to 49, and 11% said don't know. The median was 6 candidates while the mean was 13.7 candidates. 

Finally, the survey asked respondents' views on the effects of prior vetting mechanisms, the result is 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. However, some other holds another view that no prior vetting mechanism should be introduced as this would eliminate the real competition in the election. Which view are you more inclined to?

 Inclined to adding some prior vetting mechanism to secure the acceptance of candidates by the Central government  39%
 Inclined not to introducing prior vetting mechanism for a real competition in the election.  44%
 Agree to both   2%   Neither of them   2%   Don't know/hard to say   13%   Total   100% 


Regarding the possible effects of adding prior vetting mechanisms to the Chief Executive election, when confronted with the choice between securing Central Government's endorsement of the candidates, and guaranteeing real elections, 44% opted for real competition while 39% opted for Central Government's endorsement. Another 17% either said don't know or did not know how to choose.


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. POP's initial decision is to measure people's views on the schedule of universal suffrage in every alternative survey, on top of measuring people's receptiveness of the pan-democrats' proposal each time. Other topics will depend on the talking points of the time. Because the government has not yet released its green paper on constitutional reform, we have concentrated our scarce resources available to this survey to study people's view on the number of candidates competing in the last round of CE election, and to follow up on the issue of "prior vetting mechanism" studied in the last survey, by confronting people with two conflicting ideas, namely, the idea that prior vetting mechanism would produce CE candidates acceptable to the Central Government, and the idea that prior vetting mechanism would eliminate real competition. Such debates are likely to become more important in new future."

On the general findings of this survey, Robert Chung observed, "On the schedule of universal suffrage, this survey finds that 56% believe that CE should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 65% believe Legco should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012. Both figures have increased slightly over the last month. On pan-democrats' proposals regarding universal suffrage for CE and Legco in 2012, people's latest support rates are 49% and 48% respectively, representing a respective drop of 8 percentage points and a rise of 3 percentage points since the last survey. Assuming that CE will be returned by universal suffrage in 2012, this survey finds that people on average would like the nomination committee to provide at least 6, preferably 8 but not more than 14 candidates for people to choose by one person one vote. The median figures are 3, 5 and 6 candidates respectively. It seems in general that people would like to have 5 to 8 candidates to choose from at the final stage of the election using one person one vote."

On the issue of "prior vetting mechanism" which POP began to study in the last survey, Robert Chung observed, "In our last survey, we discovered that many people agreed that the wish of the Central Government should be taken into consideration in the CE election, and that many preferred communication over vetting mechanisms. In this survey, we further examine people's views on the possible effect of these vetting mechanisms by confronting them with conflicting concepts. We found that between acceptance by the Central Government and real competition, more people prefer real competition to Central Government's wish. The edge is about 5 percentage points."

Robert Chung added, "Because the official consultation period is yet to begin, and many issues are still not thoroughly discussed, opinion figures at this stage could only be taken as very preliminary. Nevertheless, after our three rounds of surveys, a number of public demands have become obvious. One, people want to have a 6-month consultation. Second, people want to have 5 to 8 candidates to choose from in the 2012 CE election. Three, people want real competition, but also hope the Central Government would endorse the candidates. Four, before the emergence of other concrete proposals, the proposals put forward by the pan-democrats regarding universal suffrage for CE and Legco in 2012 have secured about 50% support rate. Exactly how the government would incorporate people's demands according to people's wishes will directly affect the credibility of the government itself."

In the coming few 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.

 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary
| Detailed Findings (Third Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |