Since January 2007, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong has launched a feature page called "Opinion Daily" at the "HKU POP SITE"
(http://hkupop.hku.hk). It records significant events on a daily basis, as well as provides certain opinion poll figures on those separate days. Our purpose is to provide accurate information for readers to judge by themselves the reasons for the ups and downs of opinion figures. "Opinion Daily" began to operate on January 17, 2007. At the beginning, it only recorded significant events and the popularity figures of the Chief Executive for the previous few months. As of today, it gives a chronology of events back from July 1, 2006, and many other poll figures since January 1, 2006, and its content is ever increasing.
In July 2007, POP collaborated with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP since July 24 on a daily basis a record of significant events of the day, according to a research method designed by POP. These daily entries would be uploaded to the "Opinion Daily" feature page as soon as they are verified by POP, in order to provide readers with swifter and more accurate information.
Starting today, other than reading the chronology of significant events, readers can also check on the results of 9 different polling items compiled by POP, including the popularity of the Chief Executive, the HKSAR government, and the Secretaries of Departments under the accountability system. In near future, "Opinion Daily" will be regularly updated and expanded in order to promote the science of opinion polling.
* Starting from 2006, these questions only uses sub-samples of the tracking surveys concerned, the sample size for each question also varies.
** "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. Media can state "sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures.
# This series of questions is conducted once every month since July 2007, different from the frequency of support ratings. Comparisons, if made, should be synchronized using the same cycle.
^ York Chow has been appointed as the Secretary for Food and Health from July 1, 2007 onwards. Prior to that he was the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food.
^^ Frederick Ma has been appointed as the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development from July 1, 2007 onwards. Prior to that he was the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury.
^^^ Michael Suen has been appointed as the Secretary for Education from July 1, 2007 onwards. Prior to that he was the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands.
^^^^ Stephen Lam has been appointed as the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs from July 1, 2007 onwards. Prior to that he was the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.
The latest survey showed that, CE Donald Tsang scored 66.1 marks, and 70% supported him as the Chief Executive. By using a 5-point scale, 59% of the respondents thought Tsang was doing a good job as the CE, as contrast to only 7% who held the opposite view. Meanwhile, the corresponding ratings of CS Henry Tang Ying-yen, FS John Tsang Chun-wah and SJ Wong Yan-lung were 64.5, 57.2 and 68.8 marks, and 63%, 35% and 74% would vote for their reappointment correspondingly. As for the Directors of Bureaux, results revealed that the top approval rate fell to Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, attaining 79%. The 2nd place went to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. Their reappointment rates were both 55%. The 4th to 6th ranks went to Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok, Secretary for the Civil Service Denise Yue Chung-yee and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma Si-hang, obtaining supporting rates of 51%, 45% and 41% respectively. Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung and Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung, occupied the 7th to 9th places, achieving 37%, 36% and 35% accordingly. Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Ceajer Chan Ka-keung and Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng Yu-wah shared the 10th rank as their supporting rates were both 33%. Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah ranked 12th, attaining 25%. In other words, only Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and York Chow Yat-ngok scored approval rates of over 50% among all Directors of
Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Our latest survey shows that compared to late July, the support rate of CE Donald Tsang rate has dropped a little while his support rate has stabilized at 70%. According to the benchmarks developed by POP, officials who have approval rates of over 66% can be labeled as 'ideal', those with over 50% approval rates can be labeled as 'successful', those with less than 50% approval and disapproval rates combined can be labeled as 'inconspicuous', while those with over 50% disapproval rates can be labeled as 'depressing' and those with over 66% disapproval rates can be labeled as 'disastrous'. According to this system, Ambrose Lee, Wong Yan-lung and Donald Tsang can be labeled as 'ideal', Henry Tang, Carrie Lam, Matthew Cheung and York Chow can be labeled as 'successful', Edward Yau, Ceajer Chan, Eva Cheng, John Tsang and Tsang Tak-sing can be labeled as 'inconspicuous'. The performances of all other officials range between 'successful' and 'depressing' and can be labeled as 'mediocre'. No official falls under the categories of 'depressing' or 'disastrous'. As for the reasons affecting the popularity change of these officials, readers can make their own judgment according to our records shown in our 'Opinion Daily' feature page."
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 August 16, 2007, Thursday, between 1pm to 2 pm, when the latest ratings of Top 5 members of Executive Council will be released. Then on August 21, 2007, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2pm, we will release the latest figures on the popularity of SAR and Central Governments, and people's confidence in the future.
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.
For the whole of last year, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of sharing our research experience with the readers and the general public, and the subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP". In the near future, we will keep on stepping up our effort in promoting general civic education to enhance our POP Site accordingly.
Popularity surveys of CE and principal officials
In advanced democratic countries, the popularity of top leaders and principal officials is the crux of all opinion polls. Shortly after HKUPOP was established, we started to conduct surveys on these aspects. We have explained the development of these surveys in our press releases of October 31, 2006, January 16 and 31, February 8, March 13, June 12, as well as July 17, 2007. Today, we post it again, so that readers can have a more comprehensive picture of such development.
(1) Development of CE's popularity survey
From its establishment to the handover of Hong Kong, POP
has continually conducted surveys to measure the popularity rating of
Governor Chris Patten. After the handover when Tung Chee-hwa became the
first Chief Executive in 1997, we began our popularity survey of CE Tung
Chee-hwa. After Tung resigned and Donald Tsang succeeded, POP has begun to
measure Tsang's popularity. The frequency of our surveys was at least once
every month during the Patten era. It was then increased to three times per
month when Tung became CE, until the end of 1997. From January 1998 onwards,
it was reduced to twice every month.
The question wordings used in "popularity of Governor or CE" survey are: "Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to the Governor/ the Chief Executive XXX, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate the Chief Executive XXX?" and "If a general election of the Chief Executive were to be held tomorrow, and you had the right to vote, would you vote for
Before April 2000, the sample size of our regular surveys was set at slightly over 500. After that, it was increased to at least 1,000.
(2) Development of CE's popularity (performance) survey
The frequency of our surveys was once every two months since August 2002. From February 2004 onwards, it was reduced to once every six months.
The question wordings used in "CE popularity (performance)" survey are: "Do you think XXX is doing a good or bad job as CE?".
Regarding the sample size, ever since the beginning, the sample size of surveys has been set at slightly over 1,000.
(3) Development of the survey for Secretaries of Departments:
For the rating survey of the Secretaries of Departments, in between January to November 2001, the survey was conducted at an irregular basis. From January 2002 onwards, the survey is conducted once every month. For the support rates of the Secretaries based on people's hypothetical vote of confidence, it was surveyed once every three months from September 2002 to December 2003. Then it was changed to once every two months from February 2004 to December 2005. From January 2006 onwards, the survey is conducted once every month.
The wordings used in the questionnaire are: "Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to Chief Secretary for Administration XXX/Financial Secretary YYY/Secretary for Justice ZZZ, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate XXX/YYY/ZZZ?". For the support rates of Secretaries, the wordings are "If you had the right to vote on the reappointment or dismissal of XXX/YYY/ZZZ as the Chief Secretary for Administration/Financial Secretary/Secretary for Justice tomorrow, how would you vote?"
Regarding the sample size, ever since the beginning, the sample size of surveys has been set at slightly over 1,000.
(4) Development of the survey for Directors of Bureaux:
For the rating survey of the Directors of Bureaux, in between June 2002 to December 2005, the frequency was once every month. From January 2006 to June 2007, the survey is conducted once every two months. For the support rates of Directors of Bureaux, the frequency was once every three months from September 2002 to December 2003. Then from February 2004 to June 2007, the survey was conducted once every two months. In July 2007, with the beginning of CE's new term of office and the appointment of new principal officials, the frequency of support rate survey of the Directors of Bureaux was increased to once every month, while the frequency of rating survey was reduced to once every three months. Moreover, although all survey results are uploaded onto the POP Site in detail, POP no longer analyze the result of rating surveys. This is to better match the evolvement of the accountability system as well as the pace of democratic development.
Similar to the popularity survey of the Secretaries of Departments, that of the Directors of Bureaux also includes the questions of rating and hypothetical voting. The wordings used in the questionnaire are: "Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to XXX, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate XXX?" and "If you had the right to vote on the reappointment or dismissal of XXX as YYYYYY tomorrow, how would you vote?" However, the two questions may not be asked in the same survey.
Regarding the sample size, from the beginning to December 2005, the sample size of the surveys was set at slightly over 1,000. However, from 2006 onwards, this series of questions only uses sub-samples of the tracking surveys concerned, and the sample size for each question also varies.
All the findings from our surveys on "popularity of principal officials" have been released online through our HKU POP Site.