HKU POP SITE releases the second Budget survey and the popularity figures of CE and HKSARGBack

 
Press Release on March 2, 2010

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | (I) The Budget |
| (II) Popularity Figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government |
| Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Second round of the 2010 Financial Budget/
Popularity of Chief Executive/Popularity of HKSAR Government) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,021 Hong Kong people between 22 and 27 February about the opinion of Chief Executive and HKSAR Government, and began the second round of Budget survey on 25 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 has dropped to 39%, while dissatisfaction rate went up to 27%, and net satisfaction rate narrowed down to positive 12 percentage points. Satisfaction rating also went down to 56.3 marks. This shows that, same as last year but different from the previous one, people became more negative after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage. According to our survey, more than half feel that the tax concession measures proposed by the FS this year are sufficient. However, almost half think his proposals cannot achieve his three objectives of consolidating recovery, developing our economy and building a caring society, and more than 60% think his proposed measures to stabilize the property market are not effective. Also, 60% consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but more than 60% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, and only 34% are satisfied with the government's fiscal policies. Regarding the popularity of the Chief Executive and the government, on the day the Budget was released, CE Donald Tsang's support rating increased by 2.8 marks, while his approval rate went up by 5 percentage points. A few days later, the Budget effect has shrunk to just positive 1.4 marks and positive 3 percentage points. CE's net popularity now stands at negative 7 percentage points. As for the popularity of the SAR Government, compared to a month ago, its dissatisfaction rate has decreased significantly by 4 percentage points, so its net popularity now stands at negative 4 percentage points. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is between +/-2 and +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures is in between +/-1.2 and +/-1.7. The response rate of the survey is 70%.

Points to note:

[1] The address of the "HKU POP SITE" is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.
[2] The sample size of this survey is 1,021 successful interviews, not 1,021 x 69.9% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
[3] The maximum sampling error of all approval and disapproval rates is +/-4 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figures needs another calculation. "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".
[4] 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.
[5] 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.

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.


Latest Figures


(I) The Budget

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-2009. Herewith the contact information of relevant surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %[6]

2010 Second Round

25-27/2/2010

517

67.1%

+/-4%

2010 Instant

24/2/2010

1,008

65.9%

+/-3%

2009 Second Round

26/2/2009

525

66.5%

+/-4%

2009 Instant

25/2/2009

1,015

67.7%

+/-3%

2008 Second Round

28/2/2008

525

70 .1%

+/-4%

2008 Instant

27/2/2008

1,077

75.5%

+/-3%

2007 Instant

28/2/2007

1,018

65.2%

+/-3%

2006 Instant

22/2/2006

1,026

68.3%

+/-3%

2005 Instant

16/3/2005

1,041

65.2%

+/-3%

2004 Instant

10/3/2004

1,023

64.7%

+/-3%

2003 Instant

5/3/2003

1,047

71.4%

+/-3%

2002 Instant

6/3/2002

1,041

59.9%

+/-3%

2001 Instant

7-8/3/2001

502

67.1%

+/-4%

2000 Instant

8/3/2000

856

56.4%

+/-3%

1999 Instant

3/3/1999

1,190

62.1%

+/-3%

1998 Instant

18/2/1998

804

54.7%

+/-4%

[6] All errors in the table are 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 Budget surveys of 2008 to 2010 together with their corresponding instant polls are tabulated below:

2010

 

Instant survey[10]

Second round of survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

24/2/2010

25-27/2/2010

--

Sample base

1,008

517

--

Overall response rate

65.9%

67.1%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[8]

47%

39% +/-4%

-8%[9]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[8]

14%

27% +/-4%

+13%[9]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

60.8

56.3 +/-1.7

-4.5[9]

2009

 

Instant survey[11]

Second round of survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

25/2/2009

26/2/2009

--

Sample base

1,015

525

--

Overall response rate

67.7%

66.5%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[8]

30%

24% +/-4%

-6%[9]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[8]

22%

34% +/-4%

+12%[9]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

54.8

51.0 +/-1.7

-3.8[9]

2008

 

Instant survey[12]

Second round of survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

27/2/2008

28/2/2008

--

Sample base

1,077

525

--

Overall response rate

75.5%

70.1%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[8]

68%

72% +/-4%

+4%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[8]

6%

5% +/-2%

-1%

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

70.6

71.5 +/-1.4

+0.9

[7] All errors in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. "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.
[8] Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
[9] 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.
[10] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 724.
[11] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 669.
[12] Excluding respondents who said they had not heard of the Budget, or were not clear about the Budget content. The sub-sample size was 811.


Our second Budget survey reveals that 39% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 27% were dissatisfied. The average rating registered for the Budget was 56.3 marks. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

Date of survey

25-27/2/2010[13]

Sample base

517

Overall response rate

67.1%

Financial Secretary said the three main objectives of the Budget are consolidating recovery, developing our economy and building a caring society. Do you think the measures proposed in the Budget can achieve these three objectives?

Can

Cannot

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

33% +/-4%

48% +/-4%

19% +/-3%

100%

Financial Secretary proposed a few measures to ensure a stable development of the property market, include increasing the supply and the transaction cost of property speculation. Do you think the measures proposed in the Budget can stabilize the property market?

Can

Cannot

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

24% +/-4%

61% +/-4%

15% +/-3%

100%

Financial Secretary proposed tax concessions, include waiving rates for the whole year, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter, reducing 75% of salaries tax and tax under personal assessment, subject to a ceiling of $6000, paying two months' rent for public housing tenants, providing an extra allowance equal to one month of the standard rate CSSA payments to CSSA recipients, and so on. Do you think these tax reduction measures are sufficient?

Sufficient

Not sufficient

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

51% +/-4%

42% +/-4%

7% +/-2%

100%

[13] All errors in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. "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, 33% of the respondents said the measures proposed by the Financial Secretary could achieve the three objectives of the Budget, that is, consolidating recovery, developing our economy and building a caring society, 48% said it could not. As for the measures of ensuring a stable development of property market, 24% believed the measures proposed can stabilize the property market, 61% thought the opposite. 51% of the respondents thought that the tax concessions announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient and 42% considered them not sufficient. 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[15]

Dissatisfaction rate with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement[15]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair[16]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair[16]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable[16]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable[16]

25-27/2/2010[14]

517

34%+/-4%

30%+/-4%

60%+/-4%

31%+/-4%

27%+/-4%

62%+/-4%

26/2/2009[14]

525

30% +/-4%

34% +/-4%

64% +/-4%

29% +/-4%

29% +/-4%

62% +/-4%

28/2/2008[14]

525

60% +/-4%

12% +/-3%

67% +/-4%

22% +/-4%

42% +/-4%

45% +/-4%

28/2/2007[14]

1,018

49% +/-3%

10% +/-2%

63% +/-3%

28% +/-3%

34% +/-3%

52% +/-3%

22/2/2006[14]

1,026

36% +/-3%

15% +/-2%

55% +/-3%

34% +/-3%

32% +/-3%

55% +/-3%

16/3/2005[14]

1,041

29% +/-3%

15% +/-2%

59% +/-3%

27% +/-3%

29% +/-3%

51% +/-3%

10/3/2004[14]

1,023

18% +/-2%

29% +/-3%

58% +/-3%

31% +/-3%

22% +/-3%

62% +/-3%

5/3/2003[14]

1,047

12% +/-2%

45% +/-3%

51% +/-3%

33% +/-3%

19% +/-2%

60% +/-3%

6/3/2002[14]

1,041

26% +/-3%

21% +/-3%

55% +/-3%

29% +/-3%

25% +/-3%

52% +/-3%

7-8/3/2001[14]

502

45% +/-5%*

14% +/-3%

--

--

--

--

8/3/2000[14]

856

60% +/-4%*

9% +/-2%

--

--

--

--

18/2/1998[14]

804

42% +/-3%

13% +/-2%

--

--

--

--

[14] All errors in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. "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.
[15] Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
[16] Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
* Erratum: The figures in the original release were mistyped, with regret.


Latest results revealed that 34% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 30% were dissatisfied. With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 60% viewed it fair, whilst 31% thought it unfair. Last of all, 27% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 62% who regarded it unreasonable.


(II) Popularity Figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government

POP today also releases via the "POP SITE" the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government. All figures have also 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-2009. Herewith the contact information for the survey:

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of percentages[17]

22-27/2/2010

1,021

69.9%

+/-3%

[17] Errors are 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.

Recent popularity figures of Donald Tsang and people's satisfaction of the overall performance of the HKSAR Government are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

4-9/1/2010

18-21/1/2010

29/1-2/2/2010

24/2/2010

22-27/2/2010

Latest Change

Sample base

1,011

1,013

1,003

680/672[20]

1,021

--

Overall response rate

68.0%

66.9%

65.4%

65.9%

69.9%

--

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error[18]

--

Rating of CE Donald Tsang

53.7

50.9[21]

51.6

54.4[21]

53.0+/-1.2

-1.4[21]

Vote of confidence in CE Donald Tsang

41%

37%[21]

33%[21]

38%[21]

36%+/-3%

-2%[22]

Vote of no confidence in CE Donald Tsang

43%

44%

46%

41%[21]

43%+/-3%

+2%[22]

Satisfaction rate of SARG performance[19]

--

30%

--

--

30%+/-3%

--

Dissatisfaction rate of SARG performance[19]

--

38%[21]

--

--

34%+/-3%

-4%[21]

[18] Errors are calculated at 95% confidence level. "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 rating not more than +/1.2, sampling error of percentages not more than +/3% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures. The error margin of previous survey can be found at the POP Site.
[19] Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
[20] The survey was conducted on February 24, 2010, the subsample of CE Donald Tsang's rating and his supporting rate is 680 and 672 respectively.
[21] 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.
[22] Since the polling cycle for different items varies, parallel comparison across items should be synchronized.


The survey shows that CE Donald Tsang's rating stands at 53.0 marks, with an approval rate of 36% and a disapproval rate of 43%. Regarding people's appraisal of the overall performance of the HKSAR Government, the latest figures are 30% satisfied, 34% dissatisfied.


Commentary

On the finding of this second Budget survey, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Our surveys show that people's instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was 47% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied, with a net satisfaction rate of 33 percentage points and a satisfaction rating of 60.8 marks. A few days later, after wide coverage by the media, satisfaction rate dropped to 39%, while dissatisfaction rate went up to 27%, and net satisfaction rate narrowed down to positive 12 percentage points. Satisfaction rating also went down to 56.3 marks. This shows that, same as last year but different from the previous one, people became more negative after digesting various information and comments at a preliminary stage. 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, more than half feel that the tax concession measures proposed by the FS this year are sufficient. However, almost half think his proposals cannot achieve his three objectives of consolidating recovery, developing our economy and building a caring society, and more than 60% think his proposed measures to stabilize the property market are not effective. Also, 60% consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but more than 60% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, and only 34% are satisfied with the government's fiscal policies."

Regarding the popularity of the Chief Executive and the government, Robert Chung observed, "Our series of surveys shows that on the day the Budget was released, CE Donald Tsang's support rating increased by 2.8 marks, while his approval rate went up by 5 percentage points. A few days later, the Budget effect has shrunk to just positive 1.4 marks and positive 3 percentage points. CE's net popularity now stands at negative 7 percentage points. As for the popularity of the SAR Government, compared to a month ago, its dissatisfaction rate has decreased significantly by 4 percentage points, so its net popularity now stands at negative 4 percentage points. As for the reasons affecting the ups and downs of these figures, we leave it up to our readers to form their own judgment using detailed records displayed in the "Opinion Daily" of our POP Site."


Future Release (Tentative)
  • March 9, 2010 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of CE and Principle Officials

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures |(I) The Budget |
| (II) Popularity Figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government |
| Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Second round of the 2010 Financial Budget/
Popularity of Chief Executive/Popularity of HKSAR Government) |