HKU POP SITE releases the results of the last Budget follow-up surveyBack
|Press Release on March 31, 2009|
The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,007 Hong Kong people from 17 to 18 March by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers, and found that people's satisfaction with the Budget has dropped a bit further, but its overall rating has gone up a bit, both changes being within sampling errors. Regarding people's support of John Tsang's proposals tested in the survey, they have basically remained unchanged compared to our last survey. Probably due to the continual decline of the economy, people's satisfaction with the government's financial policies has dropped significantly by 8 percentage points to a record low since 2004. People continue to consider Hong Kong's tax system fair, but the distribution of wealth unreasonable. The sampling error of all percentages is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.7. The response rate of the survey is 63%.
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 overall sample size of this survey is 1,007 successful interviews, not 1,007 x 63.3% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
* The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure 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 rating 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.
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. There is no change for follow-up polls following weeks after the instant polls. We believe this is a better way to study public opinion on these issues: measure people's instant reaction to the policies, and then repeat in our follow-up surveys, which measure people's more matured reaction. Our Budget's first and second surveys this year were released on February 26 and March 3 respectively, while the findings of the last follow-up poll are released today.
The findings of the Budget follow-up 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 2008 year-end. Herewith the contact information of various surveys:
As different questions involve different sub-samples, the sample errors will vary accordingly. The table below briefly shows the relationship between sampling errors and sample size for the readers to capture the corresponding changes:
Results of the Budget follow-up poll, together with the first two surveys, are tabulated below:
** Excluding respondents who had not heard of/were not clear about the Budget.
^ Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
^^ Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
# 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.
The follow-up poll in mid-March revealed that, 21% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 36% were dissatisfied. The average rating registered for the Budget was 51.3 marks. 22% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 38% were dissatisfied.
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 preserve jobs and create around 60,000 jobs and internship opportunities in the next 3 years, was sufficient, 68% said not sufficient. As for the medium and long-term strategies, 30% believed the measures proposed by Financial Secretary in the Budget could help Hong Kong economy to recover swiftly, 60% thought the opposite. 37% of the respondents thought that the tax concessions announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient and 56% considered them insufficient.
With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 62% viewed it fair, whilst 32% thought it unfair. Last of all, 29% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 61% who regarded it unreasonable.
Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Over the years, we have found that people's receptiveness of the government's Budget drops after it has been debated for some time. This seems to be a common phenomenon. Last year, we enhanced our research design by adding one more survey, and found that people's immediate reaction to John Tsang's maiden Budget was quite positive on the first day, went up further on the second day, and then back to the first day level in our follow-up survey. This year we find a different picture. People's immediate reaction to Tsang's second Budget was far from satisfactory, it dropped significantly the next day, and then drops a bit further in our third survey. Its overall rating, however, goes up a bit, but both changes are within sampling errors. Regarding people's support of Tsang's proposals tested in the survey, they have basically remained unchanged compared to our second survey. Probably due to the continual decline of the economy, people's satisfaction with the government's financial policies has dropped significantly by 8 percentage points to a record low since 2004. People continue to consider Hong Kong's tax system fair, but the distribution of wealth unreasonable."
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