HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on August 27, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Sixth 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, and August 13, 2007, POP released the findings of the first five 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 sixth 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 in mid-2007. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:
 Date of survey   Sample base   Overall response rate   Sampling error of percentages* 
 20-24/8/07   1,010   65.2%   +/- 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 five surveys conducted from June 1 to 7, 18 to 22, July 3 to 6, 23 to 26 and August 6 to 10 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   20-24/8/07   Latest change 
  Sample base  1,022   1,026   1,011   1,007   1,013   1,010   -- 
  Overall response rate  59.7%   65.1%   63.3%   64.9%   63.8%   65.2%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages 
(at 95% confidence level)*
 +/-3%   +/-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%   55%   -1% 
  Half-half  22%   17%   20%   20%   20%   18%   -2% 
  Oppose  17%   14%   20%   15%   17%   17%   -- 
  Don't know/hard to say  10%   13%   12%   9%   8%   10%   +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.
 

With respect to the pan-democrats' proposal regarding universal suffrage for CE in 2012, the question wordings used in this survey were: "It is proposed 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 late August showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 55% versus 17% opposition. To further gauge the opinion of those who did not support this proposal, the survey probed their reasons for opposition. Results are as follows:

  [Only for those who answered "half-half, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know or refuse to answer" in the previous question, sub-sample size: 466, including 17 respondents who refused to answer this follow-up question] You mentioned that you [partly support, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know, refuse to answer, subject to respondents' answers in the previous question] the proposal, is it because you think it is too radical or too conservative?
 Too radical   34%   Too conservative   31%   Others   10%   Don't know/Hard to say   25% 


The survey revealed that among 466 respondents who did not support the proposal, excluding 17 people who refused to answer, 34% thought it was too radical while 31% considered it too conservative. Another 10% did not support the proposal for some other reasons and 25% said "don't know/hard to say". In other words, 14% of the total sample of 1,010 respondents did not support the proposal because they thought it was too conservative.

The survey further examined the change in public opinion if the proposal were to be deferred until 2017. Results are as follows:

  If the proposal were to be adopted in the 2017 CE election instead of in 2012, which is 10 years later, do you support or oppose this proposal?*
 Support   42%   Half-half   13%   Oppose   33%   Don't know/Hard to say   13% 
  [Only for those who answered "half-half, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know or refuse to answer" in the previous question, sub-sample size: 597, including 22 people who refused to answer this follow-up question] You mentioned that you [partly support, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know, refuse to answer, subject to respondents' answers in the previous question] this 2017 proposal, is it because you think it is too radical or too conservative?
 Too radical   12%   Too conservative   59%   Others   9%   Don't know/Hard to say   21% 

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

Survey findings revealed that if the adoption was to be deferred until 2017, 42% of the total sample supported the proposal while 33% opposed. Among 597 respondents who did not support the 2017 proposal, excluding 22 people who refused to answer, 12% still believed it was too radical while 59% thought it was too conservative, 9% did not support it due to some other reasons, and 21% said "don't know/hard to say". In other words, 33% of the total sample of 1,010 respondents did not support the proposal because they considered it was too conservative. 

Opinions on 2012 Legco Election is 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   20-24/8/07   Latest change 
  Sample base  1,022   1,026   1,011   1,007   1,013   1,010   -- 
  Overall response rate  59.7%   65.1%   63.3%   64.9%   63.8%   65.2%   -- 
  Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*  +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-3%   +/-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%   48%   48%   50%   50%   -- 
  Half-half  21%   18%   19%   18%   21%   16%   -5% 
  Oppose  21%   15%   19%   21%   17%   16%   -1% 
  Don't know/hard to say  19%   22%   14%   13%   13%   18%   +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.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.


As for the pan-democrats' proposal regarding universal suffrage for Legislative Council in 2012, the question wordings used in this survey were: "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. Results of our survey conducted in late August showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 50%, versus 16% opposition. To further gauge the opinion of those who did not support this proposal, the survey probed their reasons for opposition. Results are as follows:

  [Only for those who answered "half-half, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know or refuse to answer" in the previous question, sub-sample size: 514, including 23 people who refused to answer this follow-up question] You mentioned that you [partly support, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know, refuse to answer, subject to respondents' answers in the previous question] the proposal. Is it because you think it is too radical or too conservative?
 Too radical   31%   Too conservative   21%   Others   11%   Don't know/Hard to say   37% 


The survey revealed that among 514 respondents who did not support the proposal, excluding those 23 who refused to answer, 31% thought it was too radical while 21% considered it too conservative. Another 11% did not support it due to other reasons, while 37% said "don't know/hard to say". In other words, 10% of the total sample of 1,010 respondents did not support the proposal because they thought it was too conservative.

The survey further examined the change in public opinion if the proposal were to be deferred until 2016. Results are as follows:

  If the proposal were to be adopted in the 2016 Legco election instead of in 2012, which is 9 years later, do you support or oppose this proposal?*
 Support   45%   Half-half   12%   Oppose   25%   Don't know/Hard to say   17% 
  [Only for those who answered "half-half, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know or refuse to answer" in the previous question, sub-sample size: 564 including 25 people who refused to answer this follow-up question] You mentioned that you [partly support, quite oppose, very much oppose, don't know, refuse to answer, subject to respondents' answers in the previous question] this 2016 proposal, is it because you think it is too radical or too conservative?
 Too radical   11%   Too conservative   49%   Others   8%   Don't know/Hard to say   32% 

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

Survey findings showed that if the adoption was to be deferred until 2016, 45% of the total sample supported the proposal while 25% opposed. Among the 564 respondents who did not support the 2016 proposal, excluding 25 people who refused to answer, 11% believed it was too radical while 49% said it was too conservative, 8% did not support it due to some other reasons, and 32% said "don't know/hard to say". In other words, 26% of the total sample of 1,010 respondents did not support the proposal because they considered it was too conservative.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, summarized the findings of this survey by means of the following table:

    Pan-democrats' proposal on CE election  Pan-democrats' proposal on LC election
    For 2012   For 2017  For 2012   For 2016
    Raw %   Sub-total   Raw %   Sub-total   Raw %   Sub-total   Raw %   Sub-total 
  Support  55%   69%  42%   75%  50%   60%  45%   71%
  Oppose because it is too conservative  14%   33%   10%   26% 
  Oppose because of other reasons  31%   31%   25%   25%   40%   40%   29%   29% 
  Total  100%   100%   100%   100%   100%   100%   100%   100% 

Robert Chung explained, "Over the past 5 surveys, people's support of the pan-democrats' proposals on 2012 CE and LC elections have been very stable, with average support rates of 54% and 47%. We have, therefore, allocated some resources in this survey to examine what it means. We discovered that among those who did not express support to the proposals, 20% to 30% in fact considered such proposals too conservative. They comprised about 10% to 15% of the total sample. In other words, if there are no more "progressive" proposals available, people's support of the pan-democrats' proposals on 2012 CE and LC elections may well go up to 69% and 60% respectively. Moreover, if these proposals were delayed from 2012 to 2017 and 2016 respectively, then in the absence of more "progressive" proposals, their support rates may go up to 75% and 71%."

Robert Chung added, "The pan-democrats have actually not made any proposal on 2017 CE and 2016 LC elections. The idea of POP's design this time is to show the complexity of public opinion, and to demonstrate how we can read different opinion figures. The simple questions posted by the government in its "Green Paper on Constitutional Development", as well as using 60% as a benchmark of public support, may well backfire on itself if they are not handled properly."

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. As for our earlier forecast that we would design a comprehensive model questionnaire on political reform, we apologize that our plan has been delayed, partly because of the lack of public debate on the matter, and partly because of the sudden need to turn on our Legco by-election studies.

 

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