HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on October 8, 2007
 

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

Herewith the fieldwork periods and release dates of all surveys of the series:

  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 
  9th survey  2-5/10/07   1,008   8/10/07 

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* 
 2-5/10/07   1,008   65.4%   +/- 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 nine times. Please refer to the POP Site regarding the results of the first eight surveys. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

Date of survey
3-6/7
23-26/7
6-10/8
20-24/8
4-7/9
17-21/9
2-5/10
Latest change
Sample base
1,011
1,007
1,013
1,010
1,025
1,027
1,008
--
Overall response rate
63.3%
64.9%
63.8%
65.2%
66.0%
65.5%
65.4%
--
Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*
+/-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
49%
56%
56%
55%
59%
57%
58%
+1%
Half-half
20%
20%
20%
18%
14%
16%
17%
+1%
Oppose
20%
15%
17%
17%
16%
16%
16%
--
Don't know/hard to say
12%
9%
8%
10%
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
48%
48%
50%
50%
51%
50%
47%
-3%
Half-half
19%
18%
21%
16%
14%
16%
18%
+2%
Oppose
19%
21%
17%
16%
18%
14%
17%
+3%
Don't know/hard to say
14%
13%
13%
18%
17%
20%
18%
-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 early October showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 58% 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 early October showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 47%, versus 17% opposition. 

Besides, the survey gauged respondents' demands for universal suffrage for CE. Results are as follows:

Date of survey
1-7/6
3-6/7
6-10/8
4-7/9
2-5/10
Latest change^
Sample base
1,022
1,011
1,013
1,025
1,008
--
Overall response rate
59.7%
63.3%
63.8%
66.0%
65.4%
--
Sampling error of percentages 
(at 95% confidence level)*
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-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%
12%
9%
-3%
Between 2008 and 2012
43%
46%
42%
37%
44%
+7%
Between 2013 and 2017
18%
16%
23%
22%
22%
--
Between 2018 and 2022
4%
5%
4%
5%
5%
--
2023 or later
5%
4%
3%
5%
3%
-2%
Don't know/hard to say
20%
20%
19%
19%
17%
-2%
If only given the following choices, which year would you prefer implementing the selection of CE by universal suffrage?
2012 (5 years later)
--
--
--
55%
58%
+3%
2017 (10 years later)
--
--
--
27%
26%
-1%
2022 (15 years later)
--
--
--
5%
5%
--
2027 (20 years later)
--
--
--
5%
3%
-2%
Don't know/hard to say
--
--
--
8%
7%
-1%

* "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 53% said the Chief Executive should be returned by universal suffrage by 2012, while 22% 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%, 3% and 17% correspondingly. Meanwhile, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2017, 2022 and 2027, 58% would prefer implementing the selection of CE by universal suffrage in 2012, while 26% chose "2017". The percentages of people who opted for "2022", "2027" and "don't know/hard to say" are 5%, 3% and 7% correspondingly.

The survey further examined respondents' demands for universal suffrage for Legislative Council. Results are as follows:

Date of survey
1-7/6
3-6/7
6-10/8
4-7/9
2-5/10
Latest change^
Sample base
1,022
1,011
1,013
1,025
1,008
--
Overall response rate
59.7%
63.3%
63.8%
66.0%
65.4%
--
Sampling error of percentages 
(at 95% confidence level)*
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-3%
--
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%
12%
11%
-1%
2008 (or earlier)
21%
22%
19%
15%
14%
-1%
Between 2009 and 2012
34%
33%
36%
37%
41%
+4%
Between 2013 and 2016
8%
8%
10%
8%
8%
--
Between 2017 and 2020
5%
5%
5%
9%
9%
--
2021or later
3%
2%
3%
4%
3%
-1%
Don't know/hard to say
19%
19%
18%
15%
14%
-1%
If only given the following choices, which year would you prefer implementing the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage?
2012 (5 years later)
--
--
--
64%
67%
+3%
2016 (9 years later)
--
--
--
17%
18%
+1%
2020 (13 years later)
--
--
--
6%
4%
-2%
2024 (17 years later)
--
--
--
2%
2%
--
2028 (21 years later)
--
--
--
4%
2%
-2%
Don't know/hard to say
--
--
--
8%
7%
-1%
* "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.


Regarding the return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, 25% said it should be implemented by 2008, while 41% chose "between 2009 to 2012". The percentages of people who opted for "between 2013 to 2016", "between 2017 to 2020", "2021 or later" and "don't know/hard to say" are 8%, 9%, 3% and 14% correspondingly. Meanwhile, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028, 67% would prefer implementing the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage in 2012, while 18% chose "2016". The percentages of people who opted for "2020", "2024", "2028" and "don't know/hard to say" are 4%, 2%, 2% and 7% correspondingly.

Finally, the survey asked people's views on whether or not Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage, the results is as follows:

Date of survey
1-7/6
6-10/8
2-5/10
Latest change
Sample base
1,022
1,013
1,008
--
Overall response rate
59.7%
63.8%
65.4%
--
Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*
+/-3%
+/-3%
+/-3%
--
Do you think Hong Kong's condition is sufficient for introducing universal suffrage?
Sufficient
56%
57%
60%
+3%
Not sufficient
37%
38%
34%
-4%
Don't know/hard to say
8%
5%
7%
+2%

Survey findings showed that 60% believed Hong Kong's condition is sufficient to introduce universal suffrage while 34% said insufficient.


Commentary

Regarding the findings of this last survey conducted during the consultation period of the "Green Paper on Constitutional Development", Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, first analyzed people's support of the pan-democrats' proposals for universal suffrage, "In our latest survey, people's support of the pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 CE election is 58%, which is 1 percentage point higher than that two weeks ago. People's support of the pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 Legco election is 47%, which is 3 percentage-points lower. After the Government issued the "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" on July 11, POP has conducted 6 surveys on people's support of the above two proposals, and the findings have remained very stable. Across the 6 surveys, the average support rate of the pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 CE election is 57% while that on 2012 Legco election is 49%. As for how many people among those who did not express support to the pan-democrats' proposals would finally change their mind if there were no better choices, we have already examined this issue in past survey of this series, so we will not go into that."

Regarding the timetable of universal suffrage, Robert Chung observed, "Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law stipulate that the method for selecting CE and forming Legco shall be determined by "the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress", and the ultimate aim is universal suffrage for both. POP has therefore adopted these explicit principles stated in the Basic Law in gauging people's view on the timetable of universal suffrage. Our latest survey finds that 53% thought universal suffrage for CE should be implemented by 2012 while 66% said universal suffrage for Legco should be introduced by 2012. Because the release of our fifth survey findings has drawn discussions among the media and community members on how to categorize different answer options, POP then introduced two more questions using fixed years as answer labels. In our latest survey, if only four choices of 2012, 2017, 2022 and 2027 were given, 58% considered 2012 to be the right time to implement universal suffrage for the CE. As for universal suffrage for Legco, if only five choices of 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028 were offered, 67% considered 2012 to be the right time to implement universal suffrage for Legco. It should be noted that, in order to be fair, POP did not use leading wordings like "in one go" and "going through a transitional phase" used in the "Green Paper on Constitutional Development". During the consultation period of the "Green Paper", POP has conducted 3 surveys on the timetable of universal suffrage, twice in our latest surveys using two sets of parallel question. When open-ended questions were used, 51% on average said universal suffrage for CE should be implemented by 2012, while 65% said universal suffrage for Legco should be introduced by 2012. When questions with fixed years were used in the last two surveys, 57% on average thought universal suffrage for CE should be implemented by 2012, while 66% said universal suffrage for Legco should be introduced by 2012. All figures mentioned above have not changed much over the past many surveys. During the consultation period of the "Green Paper", about 60% regarded Hong Kong's condition sufficient to implement universal suffrage. People's demand for universal suffrage is very clear."

After the consultation period of the "Green Paper" ends, POP will continue to conduct surveys to measure people's demand for political reform. Moreover, POP will further explain how to continue monitoring public opinion on political reform using surveys. For enquiry, please email the questions to <[email protected]>. We will reply as soon as possible, and upload all questions and answers onto our website at appropriate times, to enhance our collective wisdom.

 

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