HKU POP SITE releases the latest survey result on political reformBack


Press Release on October 31, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Tenth 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 social conditions, we decided that in the 9 surveys conducted before the close of the government consultation period on political reform, other than repeating the questions on pan-democrats' proposals each time, we would also 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. After the consultation period, we would adjust our operation according to the current situation. Even during the consultation period, we also compiled ad hoc questions from time to time for feature discussions, depending on the talking points of the time. In every press release which we 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 
  10th survey  22-25/10/07   1,016   31/10/07 

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* 
 22-25/10/07   1,016   67.4%   +/- 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 ten times. Please refer to the POP Site regarding the results of the first nine surveys. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

Date of survey
23-26/7
6-10/8
20-24/8
4-7/9
17-21/9
2-5/10
22-25/10
Latest change
Sample base
1,007
1,013
1,010
1,025
1,027
1,008
1,016
--
Overall response rate
64.9%
63.8%
65.2%
66.0%
65.5%
65.4%
67.4%
--
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
56%
56%
55%
59%
57%
58%
53%
-5%
Half-half
20%
20%
18%
14%
16%
17%
20%
+3%
Oppose
15%
17%
17%
16%
16%
16%
16%
--
Don't know/hard to say
9%
8%
10%
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%
50%
50%
51%
50%
47%
45%
-2%
Half-half
18%
21%
16%
14%
16%
18%
19%
+1%
Oppose
21%
17%
16%
18%
14%
17%
18%
+1%
Don't know/hard to say
13%
13%
18%
17%
20%
18%
19%
+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.
** 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-October showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 53% 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-October showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 45%, versus 18% opposition. 

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

Date of survey
4-7/9
2-5/10
22-25/10
Latest change
Sample base
1,025
1,008
1,016
--
Overall response rate
66.0%
65.4%
67.4%
--
Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*
+/-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. 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%
53%
-5%
2017 (10 years later)
27%
26%
30%
+4%
2022 (15 years later)
5%
5%
4%
-1%
2027 (20 years later)
5%
3%
4%
+1%
Don't know/hard to say
8%
7%
9%
+2%
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. 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%
57%
-10%
2016 (9 years later)
17%
18%
23%
+5%
2020 (13 years later)
6%
4%
6%
+2%
2024 (17 years later)
2%
2%
2%
--
2028 (21 years later)
4%
2%
3%
+1%
Don't know/hard to say
8%
7%
9%
+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.

Our latest survey shows, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2017, 2022 and 2027, 53% would prefer implementing the selection of CE by universal suffrage in 2012, while 30% chose "2017". The percentages of people who opted for "2022", "2027" and "don't know/hard to say" are 4%, 4% and 9% correspondingly. Regarding the return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028, 57% would prefer implementing the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage in 2012, while 23% chose "2016". The percentages of people who opted for "2020", "2024", "2028" and "don't know/hard to say" are 6%, 2%, 3% and 9% correspondingly.

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

 

The consultation period for "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" has ended. CE Donald Tsang said in his Policy Address that Government would collate and summarize the views received as well as submit a report to the Central Authorities, reflecting faithfully the community's views on democratic development. Do you believe CE Donald Tsang will reflect faithfully the community views?*
 
Yes
45%
Half-half
29%
No
21%
Don't know/
Hard to say
5%
Total
100%
* Collapsed from a 5-point scale.


Survey findings showed that 45% believed that CE Donald Tsang would reflect faithfully the community's views on democratic development, while 29% said half-half and 21% did not believe. Finally, the survey asked people's views on CE Donald Tsang's speech regarding "democratic development taken to the its full swing would lead to Cultural Revolution", the results is as follows:

 

In a radio programme, CE Donald Tsang said that when democratic development is "taken to its full swing", it would lead to episodes such as the Cultural Revolution. Later on, he retracted his speech and apologized. Has this incident increased or decreased your confidence in CE's implementation of universal suffrage?
 
Increased
3%
Decreased
39%
No effect
53%
Don't know/
Hard to say
5%
Total
100%

 

CE Donald Tsang earlier in a radio programme said that when democratic development is "taken to its full swing", it would lead to episodes such as the Cultural Revolution. Later on, he retracted his speech and apologized. Survey findings showed that 39% said this incident has decreased their confidence in CE's implementation of universal suffrage, while only 3% said it has increased their confidence and 53% said it had no effect at all.


Commentary

Regarding the design of this first survey conducted after the consultation period of the government's "Green Paper on Constitutional Development", and the findings on universal suffrage timetable, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "As the consultation period of the "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" comes to an end, we also adjust the content of our regular surveys. Resources allowed, we will add more ad hoc questions to address current issues being debated, while we simplify some regular questions which consistently yield stable results. Take this survey as an example, on the question of timetable for universal suffrage, we have used two simplified close-ended questions which we introduced in our seventh survey to gauge people's opinion. We asked people to choose between 2012, 2017, 2022 and 2027 for the implementation of universal suffrage for CE election, and between 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028 for Legco election. During the consultation period of the "Green Paper", we conducted 3 surveys on the timetable of universal suffrage, twice using two sets of parallel questions. 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 close-ended questions with fixed options were used in the last two surveys, 57% on average said universal suffrage for CE should be implemented by 2012, while 66% said universal suffrage for Legco should be introduced by 2012. These figures did not change much over different surveys. About 50% to 65% on average said universal suffrage should be introduced in 2012. In our latest survey, using close-ended questions, 53% said universal suffrage for CE should be implemented in 2012, while 57% said universal suffrage for Legco should be implemented in 2012. Although both figures have dropped recently, probably due to some ongoing discussions, both of them represent majority view."

Regarding people's support of the pan-democrats' proposals, Robert Chung observed, "Our latest survey shows that people's support of pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 CE election is 53%, which is 5 percentage-points lower than that two weeks ago. People's support of pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 Legco election is 45%, a drop of 2 percentage-points. During the consultation period, we conducted 6 surveys on people's support of these two proposals, their average support rates were 57% and 49% respectively. Both figures have dropped after the consultation, but the changes are not too big."

Finally, on the findings related to current issues, Robert Chung observed, "In between our last two surveys, CE Donald Tsang delivered his policy address. He also made a remark on the relationship between democracy and the Cultural Revolution, which he later retracted with an apology. According to our survey, less than half believes that Tsang would faithfully reflect Hong Kong people's views on democratic development to the Central Government, but more than half also said his remarks on the Cultural Revolution did not change their confidence in his commitment to implement universal suffrage."

 

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