HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on September 25, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Eighth 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.

POP has already explained the operation and design of these surveys many times, we will briefly explain them again. According to research agreement reached between POP and the pan-democrats, every survey in this tracking series of political reform surveys would include two questions on people's support of the political reform proposals by the pan-democrats, one on their proposal for introducing universal suffrage to the CE election in 2012, and the other on introducing universal suffrage to Legco election in 2012. POP would decide on what other questions to ask. Moreover, POP would also be solely responsible for designing and analyzing all questions in all surveys.

After thorough consideration of the resources available, and the current situation of our society, other than repeating the questions on pan-democrats' proposals each time, we have decided to measure public opinion on the timetable of universal suffrage in every alternative survey, and to ask people once every two months their views on the sufficiency of conditions in Hong Kong for introducing universal suffrage. Apart from these 5 core questions, we will draw up ad hoc questions from time to time for feature discussions, depending on the talking points of the time. We will maintain this operation mode up to the end of political reform consultation period. In every press release which we would put out, we would explain in detail the objectives of introducing these questions and their results. We welcome everybody, especially professionals in the polling industry, to comment on the pros and cons of our survey design.

We are glad to report that the pan-democrats have hitherto given us great respect. They fully accepted our research autonomy and professional ethics, even when the findings are not favourable to them. Other than praising them for their open-mindedness, we also hope that other organizations including Government departments would adopt the same attitude to respect the research autonomy of academic institutions when commissioning opinion surveys, so that our civil society can advance to new heights.

  Serial number  Survey period   Sample size   Release date 
  1st survey  1-7/6/07   1,022   10/6/07 
  2nd survey  18-22/6/07   1,026   25/6/07 
  3rd survey  3-6/7/07   1,011   9/7/07 
  4th survey  23-26/7/07   1,007   30/7/07 
  5th survey  6-10/8/07   1,013   13/8/07 
  6th survey  20-24/8/07   1,010   27/8/07 
  7th survey  4-7/9/07   1,025   10/9/07 
  8th survey  17-21/9/07   1,027   25/9/07 

The findings of the above surveys have been uploaded at the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) and the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk). At the same time, POP welcome readers to express their views on the platform, while journalists are also welcome to email their questions to <[email protected]>. We will reply as soon as we can, and will upload the questions and answers to the "Press Corner" of the Platform for public reference.

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* 
17-21/9/07 1,027 65.5%  +/- 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.
 

Beginning in June 2007, POP has been measuring people's support for the pan-democrats' proposals on 2012 CE and LC elections for eight times. Please refer to the POP Site regarding the results of the first seven surveys. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

Date of survey
1-7/6
18-22/6
3-6/7
23-26/7
6-10/8
20-24/8
4-7/9
17-21/9
Latest change
Sample base
1,022
1,026
1,011
1,007
1,013
1,010
1,025
1,027
--
Overall response rate
59.7%
65.1%
63.3%
64.9%
63.8%
65.2%
66.0%
65.5%
--
Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-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%
59%
57%
-2%
Half-half
22%
17%
20%
20%
20%
18%
14%
16%
+2%
Oppose
17%
14%
20%
15%
17%
17%
16%
16%
--
Don't know/hard to say
10%
13%
12%
9%
8%
10%
10%
10%
--
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%
51%
50%
-1%
Half-half
21%
18%
19%
18%
21%
16%
14%
16%
+2%
Oppose
21%
15%
19%
21%
17%
16%
18%
14%
-4%
Don't know/hard to say
19%
22%
14%
13%
13%
18%
17%
20%
+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.
** 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 September showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 57% versus 16% opposition. 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 September showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 50%, versus 14% opposition.

Besides, the survey gauged respondents' opinions on the consultation of Green Paper on Constitutional Development. Results are as follows:

The Green Paper on Constitutional Development has been published for more than two months already and the consultation will end in less than a month. Do you consider the Government has been doing well or poorly in facilitating the discussion of political reform within these two months? *
Well 18% Half-
half
30% Poorly 35% Don't know/ hard to say 17% Total 100%
Do you think that it is necessary for the Government to draft several concrete proposals of political reform and consult the public again?
Necessary 67% Half-
half
2% Not necessary 19% Don't know/ hard to say 12% Total 100%
In case the Government cannot come up with a political reform proposal with 60% public support rate in the end, do you think the Government should consult the public once again or simply submit a proposal for the Legislative Council to decide?
Consult the public once again 62% Neither of them 3%  
Submit a proposal to Legco 28% Don't know/ hard to say 8% Total 100%

* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.

Regarding the consultation of Green Paper on Constitutional Development, 18% considered the Government has been doing well in facilitating the discussion of political reform within these two months, while 35% said the Government has been doing poorly and 30% chose "half-half". Meanwhile, 67% thought it was necessary for the Government to draft several concrete proposals of political reform and consult the public again, while 19% held the opposite view. In case the Government cannot come up with a political reform proposal with 60% public support rate in the end, 62% believed that it should consult the public once again, while 28% said it should simply submit a proposal for the Legislative Council to decide.

Finally, the survey asked people's views on the candidacy of Anson Chan in the coming Legislative Council by-election in Hong Kong Island geographical constituency, the results is as follows:

Has Anson Chan's decision of running for the Legislative Council by-election in Hong Kong Island geographical constituency increased or decreased your concern over political reform?

 Increased

37% Decreased 3% No effect 56% Don't know/
Hard to say
5% Total 100%


Survey findings showed that 37% said Anson Chan's candidacy has increased their concern over political reform, while 3% held the opposite view and 56% said her candidacy had no effect at all.


Commentary


Regarding the questionnaire design of the latest survey, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, explained, "Because the consultation period of the Green Paper on Constitutional Development is coming to an end, POP has especially added a few questions in this survey to measure people's response to the consultation exercise. Moreover, because the announcement of former Chief Secretary Anson Chan's participation in the coming Legislative Council by-election in Hong Kong Island is a major political event, POP has also added a question to investigate the effect of Anson Chan's decision on people's political demands."

As on the result of the survey, Robert Chung observed, "Our survey shows that less than one-fifth of the population considers the Government has done a good job in the consultation exercise, about one-third said the Government has done poorly, another one-third said half-half. Moreover, two-thirds believe the Government should draft some specific proposals to consult the people again. If none of these specific proposals fails to achieve 60% public support as promised by the Chief Executive, over 60% believe that the Government should conduct the consultation again, before submitting a proposal for the Legislative Council to decide. In other words, most people want the Government to do its consultation well, in order to secure public consensus at the first place. As for Anson Chan's participation in the by-election, at the time when her campaign has just begun, more than 55% said Anson Chan's participation has no effect on their concern in political reform, while over 35% said it has raised their concern. Anson Chan's participation in the contest seems to have a certain positive effect."

Finally, on people's support for the pan-democrats' proposals on universal suffrage in 2012, Robert Chung observed, "Our survey shows that people's support of the pan-democrats' proposals has remained stable. In our latest survey, 57% support their proposal on 2012 CE election, a slight drop of 2 percentage points compared to two weeks ago, while 50% support their proposal on 2012 Legco election, down by 1 percentage point. Both changes are within sampling errors. As to how many people who do not support pan-democrats' proposals would finally change their mind if there is no better choice, we have already examined this issue in a former survey so we will not go into that."

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. However, in a conference on "Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong: The Green Paper and Beyond" held at the University of Hong Kong on September 22, 2007, Robert Chung has already addressed this issue in his presentation in absentia on "Using Opinion Surveys to Consolidate Public Consensus". His presentation notes can be found in both the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) and the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk), a copy of the presentation notes is attached to this press release for reference.

 

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