HKU POP SITE releases the results of second round of Budget surveyBack


Press Release on March 3, 2008
 

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (Second round of the 2008 Financial Budget) |

Abstract
 

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 525 Hong Kong people last Thursday night (28 February) by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that after wide coverage by the media, people's satisfaction rate towards the Budget climbed further to 72%, while satisfaction rating went up to 71.5 marks. This shows that after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage, people's reaction became even more positive. The survey also finds that around 60% to 70% are satisfied with major proposals made by the FS. This makes people's satisfaction with the government's fiscal policies go up to 60%, and those who consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair goes up to almost 70%. Both are record high in recent years. It should be noted, however, that 45% consider the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable, which is slightly higher than that who consider it reasonable. In other words, the disparity between the rich and the poor is still a problem bothering the Hong Kong society. Robert Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, reminded readers that people's reaction may change after knowing even more about the Budget, and this could only be revealed by POP's follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. The sampling error of all percentages is below +/-2 to 4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures is +/-1.4. The response rate of the survey is 70%.

Points to note:

* The address of the "HKU POP SITE" is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.
* The sample size of this survey is 525 successful interviews, not 525 x 70.1% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
* The maximum sampling error of all percentages is below +/-2 to 4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures is +/-1.4. "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. When quoting these figures, journalists can state "sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-1.4 and sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4% at 95% confidence level". 
* When quoting percentages of this survey, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, but when quoting the rating figures, one decimal place can be used, in order to match the precision level of the figures.
* The data of this survey is collected by means of random telephone interviews conducted by real interviewers, not by any interactive voice system (IVS). If a research organization uses "computerized random telephone survey" to camouflage its IVS operation, it should be considered unprofessional.

Background
 

In free and democratic societies, instant surveys are indispensable sources of free information. Combined with appropriate follow-up surveys, and in parallel to expert analyses, they give a multi-dimensional picture of opinion development. They are an important part of a society's interactive development. In the United States, for example, every year after the President gives a "State of the Union" to Congress, their media would conduct instant polls to measure public opinion. For example again, whenever there are candidate debates in Taiwan and United States during presidential elections, which Hong Kong people seem to know more, there will be instant polls to gauge instant changes in candidate popularity. As a matter of fact, these professional instant polls are everywhere in advanced societies, and they are all completed within a day. Our local media and academia are already quite behind the world in this aspect.
Since 1992, HKUPOP has already been conducting Policy Address instant surveys every year. From 1998 onwards, we expanded our instant surveys to cover the Budget Talks. Starting from 2008, we further enhanced our operation by splitting up our usual exercise into two rounds. In our first survey, we measure people's overall appraisal of the Budget, their rating of the Budget, their change in confidence towards Hong Kong's future, and the Financial Secretary's popularity. In our second survey, we focus on people's reactions towards major government proposals, their satisfaction with the government's fiscal policies, and other relevant issues. Today we are releasing the results of our second survey under our new operation.

Latest Figures
 

The findings of the second round of Budget poll released by the POP SITE today 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 of various surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %*

2008 Second Round

28/2/08

525 

 70.1% 

 +/-4% 

2008 Instant

27/2/08

1,077

75.5%

+/-3%

2007 Instant

28/2/07

1,018

65.2%

+/-3%

2006 Instant

22/2/06

1,026

68.3%

+/-3%

2005 Instant

16/3/05

1,041

65.2%

+/-3%

2004 Instant

10/3/04

1,023

64.7%

+/-3%

2003 Instant

5/3/03

1,047

71.4%

+/-3%

2002 Instant

6/3/02

1,041

59.9%

+/-3%

2001 Instant

7-8/3/01

502

67.1%

+/-4%

2000 Instant

8/3/00

856

56.4%

+/-3%

1999 Instant

3/3/99

1,190

62.1%

+/-3%

1998 Instant

18/2/98

804

54.7%

+/-4%

* 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.

Results of the second round of Budget poll, together with the instant poll, are tabulated below:

 
 

Instant survey

Second round of survey

Latest change

Date of survey

27/2/08

28/2/08

--

Sample base

1,077

525

 

Overall response rate

75.5%

70.1%

--

Finding for each question / Sampling error*

Finding #

Finding

Sampling error

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate**

68%

72%

+/-4%

+4%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate**

6%

5%

+/-2%

-1%

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

70.6

71.5

+/-1.4

+0.9

* 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. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
# Excluding respondents who were not clear about the Budget. The sub-sample size was 811.
 

Latest survey revealed that 72% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 5% were dissatisfied. The average rating registered for the Budget was 71.5 marks. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

 

Date of survey

28/2/08

Sample base

525

Overall response rate

70.1%

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)*

+/-4%

Financial Secretary said there are 3 basic principles in public finances management, namely commitment to society, sustainability and pragmatism. Do you agree or disagree to this statement? **

Agree

Half-half

Disagree

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

71%

12%

10%

8%

100%

The Financial Secretary announced tax concessions which included lowering salaries tax by 1 percentage-point to 15%, providing one-off grant of $3,000 to each elderly, subsidizing each domestic electricity account with $1,800, providing one additional month of payments for CSSA recipients and disabled persons and so on. Do you think these measures are sufficient?

Enough

Not enough

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

68%

27%

5%

100%

In this year's budget, there are mostly one-off measures, e.g. providing one additional month of payments for CSSA recipients and providing $3,000 to each elderly, etc. Do you agree or disagree to these measures? **

Agree

Half-half

Disagree

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

62%

15%

21%

2%

100%

* 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.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
 

On the other hand, 71% of the respondents agreed to the Financial Secretary's statement that there are 3 basic principles in public finances management, namely commitment to society, sustainability and pragmatism. And 10% of the respondents disagreed. 68% of the respondents thought that the tax concessions announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient and 27% considered them insufficient. At the same time, 62% agreed to using mostly one-off measures, 21% thought the opposite. With respect to people's satisfaction with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement and other relevant issues, the figures are summarized below:

 

Date of survey

Sampling error of percentages
(at 95% conf. level)*

Satisfaction rate with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement**

Dissatisfaction rate with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement**

Perceived the tax system in
Hong Kong to be fair **

Perceived the tax system in
Hong Kong to be unfair**

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable**

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable**

28/2/08

+/-4%

60%

12%

67%

22%

42%

45%

28/2/07

+/-4%

49%

10%

63%

28%

34%

52%

22/2/06

+/-4%

36%

15%

55%

34%

32%

55%

16/3/05

+/-3%

29%

15%

59%

27%

29%

51%

10/3/04

+/-3%

18%

29%

58%

31%

22%

62%

5/3/03

+/-3%

12%

45%

51%

33%

19%

60%

6/3/02

+/-3%

26%

21%

55%

29%

25%

52%

7-8/3/01

+/-4%

45%

14%

--

--

--

--

8/3/00

+/-3%

60%

9%

--

--

--

--

18/2/98

+/-4%

42%

13%

--

--

--

--

* 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. Prior to 2008 survey, the sample base for each question varies. Please refer to our POP site for actual figures.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
 

Latest results revealed that 60% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 12% were dissatisfied. With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 67% viewed it fair, whilst 22% thought it unfair. Last of all, 42% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 45% who regarded it unreasonable.

 

Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, first explained the concept behind the second round of Budget survey, "In free and democratic societies, instant surveys are indispensable sources of free information. For example, every year after the President of the United States gives a "State of the Union" to Congress, and every time when there is presidential election debate in the US and Taiwan, the media would complete an instant poll in just one evening to measure public opinion. Hong Kong media and academia are quite backward in this regard, so starting this year, we at POP have split up our usual instant survey operation into two rounds, just to show how Hong Kong society should move ahead."

On the finding of this second round of survey, Robert Chung analyzed, "Our surveys show that people's instant reaction to the Budget was quite positive in the first night, as satisfaction rate reached 68% and satisfaction rating reached 70.6 marks. One day later, after wide coverage by the media, satisfaction rate climbed further to 72%, and satisfaction rating went up to 71.5 marks. This shows that after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage, people's reaction became even more positive. Of course, how people's reaction will change after knowing even more about the Budget will have to be revealed by our follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our survey, around 60% to 70% are satisfied with major proposals made by the FS. This makes people's satisfaction with the government's fiscal policies go up to 60%, and those who consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair goes up to almost 70%. Both are record high in recent years. It should be noted, however, that 45% consider the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable, which is slightly higher than that who consider it reasonable. In other words, the disparity between the rich and the poor is still a problem bothering the Hong Kong society."

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 March 4, 2008 Tuesday, between 1pm and 2pm, when the latest popularity figures of SAR and Central Governments, and people's confidence in the future will be released.

It is our general practice 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.

Since 2006, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of sharing our research experience with the readers and the general public, and the subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP". In the near future, we will keep on stepping up our effort in promoting general civic education to enhance our POP Site accordingly.


About HKUPOP

The development and operation of second round of Budget survey

HKUPOP was established in 1991, we began our Policy Address instant surveys in October 1992. In February 1998, we expanded our instant surveys to cover the Budget Talks, and our operation has not been changed since then. By "instant survey", we mean a survey which begins on the same day when the Budget is announced, in order to gauge the immediate reaction of the people. We have explained the development of our Budget instant surveys in the press releases of March 1, 2007 and February 28, 2008. Today, we introduce the development of the second round of Budget survey.

  • Before 2008, our Budget instant surveys comprised a set of core questions asked every year for repeated measurement, plus another set of ad hoc questions designed to match the content of each year's Budget Talk. Core questions included FS's popularity, people's overall appraisal of the Budget, people's satisfaction with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement as well as other relevant issues. Starting 2008, we split up previous years' instant survey into two surveys. In our first survey, we measure people's overall appraisal of the Budget, their rating of the Budget, their change in confidence towards Hong Kong's future, and FS's popularity. In our second survey, we focus on people's reactions towards major government proposals, their satisfaction with the government's fiscal policies, and other relevant issues.

  • The sample size for the second round of Budget survey is set at slightly over 500.

  • In case we have media sponsorship, our results would be released immediately, even on a real time basis. Otherwise, we generally announce the findings online through our website on the following day. 

Below is an outline of our operation for the instant survey and second round of Budget survey of 2008:

  • After the HKSAR government announced the date of Budget Talk, we started our planning for the instant survey.

  • About one month ago, we began to keep track of news about the Budget, in order to lay the ground work of questionnaire design.

  • About one week ago, we began our manpower deployment. 

  • On Budget Day, we monitored the entire Budget Talk via the media and the Internet, including subsequent press conferences, and then drafted the questionnaire. Random telephone interviews began at 6pm on the Budget Day, involving nearly 50 interviewers and staff. The interviews finished at 10pm, after collecting 1,077 samples. After data analysis, the results of instant survey weree released through press releases on the following day.

  • On the next day of Budget Talk, we again conducted random telephone interviews starting at 6pm, involving nearly 50 interviewers and staff. The interviews finished at 10pm, after collecting 525 samples. After data analysis, the results of second round of Budget survey would be released through press releases after a few days.

 

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (Second round of the 2008 Financial Budget) |