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

 
Press Release on March 3, 2009

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Next Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Second round of the 2009 Financial Budget) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 525 Hong Kong people last Thursday night (26 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 of the Budget dropped further to 24%, while satisfaction rating went down to 51.0 marks. This shows that in stark contrast with last year, after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage, people's reaction has become even more negative. The survey also finds that around 55% to 70% are dissatisfied with some proposals of the FS, including his tax concession, job preservation and economic recovery measures. This compresses people's dissatisfaction with the government's fiscal policies to record low since 2003. However, 64% still consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but 62% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable. 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 +/-1.7. The response rate of the survey is 66%.

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 66.5% 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 +/-1.7. "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. When quoting these figures, journalists can state "sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-1.7 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-2008. Herewith the contact information of various surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %*

2009 Second Round

26/2/09

525

66.5%

+/-4%

2009 Instant

25/2/09

1,015

67.7%

+/-3%

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, for 2008 and 2009 are tabulated below:

2009

 

Instant survey^

Second round of survey*

Latest change

Date of survey

25/2/09

26/2/09

--

Sample base

1,015

525

--

Overall response rate

67.7%

66.5%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate**

30%

24% +/-4%

-6%#

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate**

22%

34% +/-4%

+12%#

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

54.8

51.0 +/-1.7

-3.8#

2008

 

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%

--

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. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
^ Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget/were not clear about the Budget. The sub-sample size was 669.
^^ Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget/were not clear about the Budget. The sub-sample size was 811.
# Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level, meaning that they are statistically significant prima facie. However, whether numerical differences are statistically significant or not is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful.


Latest survey revealed that 24% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 34% were dissatisfied. The average rating registered for the Budget was 51.0 marks. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

Date of survey

26/2/09*

Sample base

525

Overall response rate

66.5%

Financial Secretary said the short-term strategy for countering financial crisis is to preserve jobs, and said they will create around 60,000 jobs and internship opportunities in the next 3 years. Do you think these measures are sufficient?

Sufficient

Not sufficient

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

25% +/-4%

68% +/-4%

7% +/-2%

100%

Financial Secretary said the long-term strategy for countering financial crisis is to promote the economic integration with the Mainland, consolidate our role as a financial and tourism hub and implement infrastructure projects, so the Hong Kong economy will recover swiftly. Do you think the measures proposed by FS in the Budget can help Hong Kong economy to recover swiftly?

Can

Cannot

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

28% +/-4%

62% +/-4%

9% +/-3%

100%

Financial Secretary proposed tax concessions, include waiving rates for the two quarters, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter, and reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment, subject to a ceiling of $6,000. Do you think these tax reduction measures are sufficient?

Enough

Not enough

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

39% +/-4%

55% +/-4%

6% +/-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.

On the other hand, 25% of the respondents said the short-term strategy for countering financial crisis proposed by the Financial Secretary, that is, to create around 60,000 jobs and internship opportunities in the next 3 years is sufficient, 68% said not sufficient. As for the long-term strategies, 28% believed the measures proposed by Financial Secretary in the Budget could help Hong Kong economy to recover swiftly, 62% thought the opposite. 39% of the respondents thought that the tax concessions announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient and 55% considered them insufficient. 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

Total sample

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^^

26/2/09*

525

30% +/-4%

34% +/-4%

64% +/-4%

29% +/-4%

29% +/-4%

62% +/-4%

28/2/08*

525

60% +/-4%

12% +/-3%

67% +/-4%

22% +/-4%

42% +/-4%

45% +/-4%

28/2/07*

1,018

49% +/-3%

10% +/-2%

63% +/-3%

28% +/-3%

34% +/-3%

52% +/-3%

22/2/06*

1,026

36% +/-3%

15% +/-2%

55% +/-3%

34% +/-3%

32% +/-3%

55% +/-3%

16/3/05*

1,041

29% +/-3%

15% +/-2%

59% +/-3%

27% +/-3%

29% +/-3%

51% +/-3%

10/3/04*

1,023

18% +/-2%

29% +/-3%

58% +/-3%

31% +/-3%

22% +/-3%

62% +/-3%

5/3/03*

1,047

12% +/-2%

45% +/-3%

51% +/-3%

33% +/-3%

19% +/-2%

60% +/-3%

6/3/02*

1,041

26% +/-3%

21% +/-3%

55% +/-3%

29% +/-3%

25% +/-3%

52% +/-3%

7-8/3/01*

502

45% +/-5%^^^

14% +/-3%

--

--

--

--

8/3/00*

856

60% +/-4%^^^

9% +/-2%

--

--

--

--

18/2/98*

804

42% +/-3%

13% +/-2%

--

--

--

--

* 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.
^^ Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
^^^ Erratum: The figures in the original release were mistyped, with regret.


Latest results revealed that 30% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 34% were dissatisfied. With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 64% viewed it fair, whilst 29% thought it unfair. Last of all, 29% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 62% 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 last 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 Budget survey, Robert Chung observed, "Our surveys show that people's instant reaction to the Budget was far from satisfaction in the first night, as satisfaction rate was 30% only and satisfaction rating was 54.8 marks. One day later, after wide coverage by the media, satisfaction rate dropped further to 24%, while satisfaction rating went down to 51.0 marks. This shows that in stark contrast with last year, after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage, people's reaction has become even more negative. Of course, how people's reaction will change after knowing even more about the Budget remains to be revealed by our follow-up survey to be conducted weeks later. According to our survey, around 55% to 70% are dissatisfied with some proposals of the FS, including his tax concession, job preservation and economic recovery measures. This compresses people's dissatisfaction with the government's fiscal policies to record low since 2003. However, 64% still consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but 62% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable."

Next Release (Tentative)

  • March 5, 2009 (Thursday) 1pm to 2pm: Six Trust and Confidence Indicators

  • March 10, 2009 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of CE, Secretaries and Directors


| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Next Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Second round of the 2009 Financial Budget) |