HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on August 13, 2007

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Fifth 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, 25, July 9 and 30, 2007, POP released the findings of the first four 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 fifth 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* 
 6-10/8/07   1,013   63.8%   +/- 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.

Beginning in June 2007, POP has been measuring people's support for the pan-democrats' proposals on 2012 CE and LC elections. Please refer to the POP Site regarding the results of the first four surveys conducted from June 1 to 7, 18 to 22, July 3 to 6 and 23 to 26 respectively. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

 
  Date of survey  1-7/6/07   18-22/6/07   3-6/7/07   23-26/7/07   6-10/8/07   Latest change 
  Sample base  1,022   1,026   1,011   1,007   1,013   -- 
  Overall response rate  59.7%   65.1%   63.3%   64.9%   63.8%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages 
  (at 95% confidence level)*
 +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-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%   56%   56%   -- 
  Half-half  22%   17%   20%   20%   20%   -- 
  Oppose  17%   14%   20%   15%   17%   +2% 
  Don't know/hard to say  10%   13%   12%   9%   8%   -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%   48%   50%   +2% 
  Half-half  21%   18%   19%   18%   21%   +3% 
  Oppose  21%   15%   19%   21%   17%   -4% 
  Don't know/hard to say  19%   22%   14%   13%   13%   -- 
* "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 early August showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 56% versus 17% 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 August showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 50%, versus 17% opposition.

Besides, the survey again gauged respondents' demands for universal suffrage using questions designed by POP in May 2004. The findings are listed as follows:

  Date of survey  1-7/6/07   3-6/7/07   6-10/8/07   Latest change^ 
  Sample base  1,022   1,011   1,013   -- 
  Overall response rate  59.7%   63.3%   63.8%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*  +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-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?

  Sooner the better / 2007 or earlier  10%   10%   9%   -1% 
  Between 2008 and 2012  43%   46%   42%   -4% 
  Between 2013 and 2017  18%   16%   23%   +7% 
  Between 2018 and 2022  4%   5%   4%   -1% 
  2023 or later  5%   4%   3%   -1% 
  Don't know/hard to say  20%   20%   19%   -1% 

  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?

  Sooner the better  9%   10%   9%   -1% 
  2008 (or earlier)  21%   22%   19%   -3% 
  Between 2009 and 2012  34%   33%   36%   +3% 
  Between 2013 and 2016  8%   8%   10%   +2% 
  Between 2017 and 2020  5%   5%   5%   -- 
  2021or later  3%   2%   3%   +1% 
  Don't know/hard to say  19%   19%   18%   -1% 
  Do you think Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage?
  Sufficient  56%   --   57%   +1% 
  Not sufficient  37%   --   38%   +1% 
  Don't know/hard to say  8%   --   5%   -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.
^ The frequency of this series of questions is different for different questions. Comparisons, if made, should be synchronized using the same intervals.

Our latest survey shows that 51% said the Chief Executive should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 23% 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%, 3% and 19% correspondingly. Regarding return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, 28% said it should be implemented by 2008, while 36% 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 10%, 5%, 3% and 18% correspondingly. Besides, 57% believed Hong Kong's condition is sufficient to introduce universal suffrage while 38% said insufficient.

Finally, respondents were asked to give opinion on the "democratic procedures" mentioned by Article 45 of the Basic Law. Results are as follows:

  Article 45 of the Basic Law states that "CE shall be selected by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures". On what standard do you think that the democratic procedures should be defined? 4 standards will be listed as follows. Please evaluate each in terms of their importance.
  1)To guarantee that the election on the whole is a truly democratic election* 

 Important   84%   Half-half   7%   Not important   5%   Don't know/ Hard to say   4%   Total   100% 

  2)To ensure all candidates supported by Hong Kong people can participate in the election*

 Important   77%   Half-half   10%   Not important   9%   Don't know/ Hard to say   4%   Total   100% 

  3)To ensure that the nominating procedure comply with internationally-recognized standards*

 Important   75%   Half-half   11%   Not important   9%   Don't know/ Hard to say   5%   Total   100% 

  4)To vet out candidates not accepted by central government*

 Important   47%   Half-half   13%   Not important   35%   Don't know/Hard to say   5%   Total   100% 

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

On the standards of "democratic procedures", our survey shows that 84% of the respondents considered "to guarantee that the election on the whole is a truly democratic election" important, whereas only 5% said it was not important. A respective of 77% and 75% thought "to ensure all candidates supported by Hong Kong people can participate in the election" and "to ensure that the nominating procedure comply with internationally-recognized standards" important. On the other hand, those who said the two standards were not important both stood at 9%. Lastly, 47% thought "to vet out candidates not accepted by central government" important whilst 35% considered it not important.


Commentary

After the HKSAR Government released its "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" on July 11, POP tested a number of error-prone questions suggested by the Green Paper in our last round of political reform survey late last month, and came to the following apparently contradictory conclusion: "That 56% supported pan-democrats' proposals regarding universal suffrage for CE in 2012" and "that 37% chose 2012 as the year to introduce universal suffrage for CE". In order to debug the problem, POP will proceed to design a detailed and comprehensive model questionnaire this week, for discussion purpose and for use by other non-government organizations if thought fit. In the survey released today, POP continues to use the questions designed in May 2004 to gauge people's demand for universal suffrage, namely:

  • 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?

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, explained, "The questions designed by POP have used the simplest and plainest way to ask people for a time table for universal suffrage, after mentioning the concept of 'in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress' stipulated in the Basic Law. Because the answers do not contain leading phrases like 'attaining universal suffrage in one go' and 'going through a transitional phase', the findings should be more representative of people's relaxed opinion."

On the general findings of the latest survey, Robert Chung observed, "On universal suffrage, our latest survey finds that 51% considered 2012 to be the right time to introduce universal suffrage for CE, 64% considered 2012 to be the right time to introduce universal suffrage for LC, while 57% said Hong Kong's current condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage. All three figures are almost the same as those registered two months ago. As for the pan-democrats' proposals regarding universal suffrage for CE and LC in 2012, their latest support rates are 56% and 50% respectively, almost the same as those of the last survey. With regard to the new issue which we start to investigate in this survey, namely that Article 45 of the Basic Law states that 'CE shall be selected by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures', our survey shows that among the four criteria covered by this survey relating to 'democratic procedures', 84% considered it important that 'the election on the whole is a truly democratic election', 77% and 75% respectively considered it important 'to ensure all candidates supported by Hong Kong people can participate in the election' and 'to ensure that the nominating procedure comply with internationally-recognized standards', 47% considered it important 'to vet out candidates not accepted by central government'. Exactly how public opinion will be channeled or balanced on the definition of these 'democratic procedures' will become a critical point in the discussion of political reform."

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 (Fifth Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |