HKU POP SITE releases findings of the first round District Council election surveyBack


Press Release on October 9, 2007
 

| Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (First Survey on the 2007 District Councils Election ) |

 

Latest Figures
 

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the findings of the first round District Council election survey. As a general practice, all figures have been weighted according to 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  Overall sample size   Response rate  Sampling error of percentages* 
17-21/9/07
1,008
65.5%
+/-3%
* Calculated at 95% confidence level using full sample size. "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. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.
 

Whenever there are large-scale elections, POP would conduct regular surveys to track opinion changes. On election days, POP would also conduct exit polls to study voter behaviour and motivation. As District Council election draws near, the research team has conducted the first round of pre-election telephone surveys in mid-September already, findings of which are released today in POP Site. Major findings are summarized below, together with parallel figures obtained in the last two District Council elections of 1999 and 2003:

 
Date of survey
15-17/9/99
15-17/9/03
17-21/9/07
Latest Change
Sample base
536
1,030
1,008
--
Overall response rate
47.9%
70.1%
65.5%
--
Maximum sampling error of percentages
(at 95% conf. level)*
+/-4%
+/-3%
+/-3%
--
Finding for each question/Sampling error*
Finding
Finding
Finding
Sampling error
--
Awareness level of the election
35%
19%
17%
+/-2%
-2%
Critical consideration: stand on livelihood issues
78%
77%
84%
+/-2%
+7%
Critical consideration: political alignment
6%
10%
11%
+/-2%
+1%
Main factor: past performance
42%
38%
41%
+/-3%
+3%
Main factor: platform
24%
35%
31%
+/-3%
-4%
* "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 +/-3% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures.
 

Two months before this year's election, only 17% of the respondents were aware of the coming District Council election in November, or 2 percentage points lower than that registered around the same time in 2003 before the last District Council election. Results also showed that if the respondents were to vote, 84% would choose a candidate according to that person's stand on livelihood issues, 11% said the candidate's political alignment would be decisive. That means an increase of 7 and 1 percentage-point(s) respectively compared to the same time in 2003. As for specific factors, 41% and 31% respectively considered a candidate's past performance and political platform to be most important. When compared to parallel findings in 2003, the former has increased by 3 percentage points, whereas the latter has dropped by 4 percentage points.


Date of survey
15-17/9/03
17-21/9/07
Latest Change
Sample base
1,030
1,008
--
Overall response rate
70.1%
65.5%
--
Maximum sampling error of percentages 
(at 95% conf. level)*
+/-3%
+/-3%
--
Finding for each question/Sampling error*
Finding
Finding
Sampling error
--
Prefer voting for an individual candidate
65%
77%
+/-3%
+12%
Prefer voting for a political party
17%
14%
+/-2%
-3%
Inclined to support the democrats
24%
29%
+/-3%
+5%
Inclined to support the Pro-China camp
5%
9%
+/-2%
+4%
Considered themselves to be moderate or non-partisan
67%
60%
+/-3%
-7%
*"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 +/-3% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures.

Given a free choice, 77% of the respondents would prefer voting for an individual candidate, 14% would prefer voting for a political party. The former figure represents an increase of 12 percentage-points compared to 2003, while the latter represents a drop of 3 percentage-points. Among all respondents, 29% said they would support the democrats, 9% would support the Pro-China camp while 60% considered themselves to be moderate or non-partisan. The first two figures represent increases of 5 and 4 percentage-points respectively compared to the same time in 2003, while the last figure represents a drop of 7 percentage-points.

Date of survey
15-17/9/99
15-17/9/03
17-21/9/07
Latest Change
Sub-sample base (registered voters)
366
714
761
--
Overall response rate
47.9%
70.1%
65.5%
--
Maximum sampling error of percentages
(at 95% conf. level)*
+/-5%
+/-4%
+/-4%
--
Finding for each question/Sampling error*
Finding
Finding
Finding
Sampling error
--
Proportion of voters who planned to vote in DC Election
69%
67%
75%
+/-3%
+8%
First problem to be tackled: livelihood
40%
42%
54%
+/-4%
+12%
First problem to be tackled: local district problems
23%
20%
25%
+/-3%
+5%
First problem to be tackled: economy
7%
17%
6%
+/-2%
-11%
First problem to be tackled: employment/labour
7%
10%
4%
+/-1%
-6%

* "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.

 

Finally, among the sub-sample of registered voters, 75% said they intended to vote, which is 8 percentage points higher than that recorded around the same time in 2003. (However, please note that 75% intention to vote may not convert into 75% turnout). Moreover, 54% of the registered voters said the newly elected District Councillors should first tackle livelihood problems, 25% chose local district problems and 6% and 4% opted for economic problems and employment/labour issues respectively, which is very different from that in 2003 around the same time. People's attention has turned from economic development to general livelihood issues.


Commentary


Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, explained, "Our survey shows that although people's current knowledge and concern of the forthcoming District Council election is low, as it was around the same time in 2003, voters' propensity to vote at this stage is higher than the last two elections. This indicates some progress in people's civic awareness. Compared to the last two District Council elections, people at this stage seem to care more about candidates' stand on livelihood issues, and their personal attributes. As for the election issues, voters' attention seems to have turned from economic development to general livelihood issues. Of course, if some candidates cannot be distinguished by their positions in major economic and livelihood policies, then their political alignment may become critical. As the election campaigns proceed, it would be interesting to observe how different political forces would strike their balance among political, economic and social concerns, and how they position themselves in local and territory-wide affairs."

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 October 11, 2007, Thursday, between 1pm and 2pm, when survey findings of people's instant reactions towards the Policy Address will be released. Then on October 16, 2007, Tuesday, between 1pm and 2pm, POP will release the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and Principal Officials.

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.

 

Starting from January 2006, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of general civic education, so that we can share our experience with the general public. The subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP".


About HKUPOP

First round District Council election survey

 

Whenever there are large-scale elections, HKUPOP will conduct various surveys to track opinion changes. The research team will also conduct exit polls on election day to study voter behaviour and motivation. Since the handover, the research team has conducted different surveys for District Council elections (1999, 2003 and 2007), including pre-election surveys, exit polls and so on. The development of the first round District Council election survey is as follows:

  • The "first round District Council election survey" is conducted two months before the District Council election. Because District Council election is usually held in November every four years, the "first round District Council election survey" is therefore conducted in mid-September in District Council election year.

  • The question wordings used in this "first round District Council election" are, "Do you know there is an election this year?", "Are you a registered voter?", "Do you plan to vote in the District Council election this November?", "If you were given a choice, would you prefer to vote for a candidate or for a political party?", "Which political camp do you incline to identify yourself with?", "What is your main consideration in selecting a candidate?", "Which problem do you think the new District Council members need to tackle first?" and "What would be your critical consideration when you vote? The political alignment of the candidates or their stand on livelihood issues?".

  • Before May 2000, the sample size of the "first round District Council election survey" was set at slightly over 500. After that, it was then increased to at least 1,000 and the above survey is no exception. The survey findings of 2003 District Council election have been released via HKU POP Site.

| Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (First Survey on the 2007 District Councils Election ) |