2010 Legislative Council By-election Survey Second Summary ReportBack
|Press Release on May 6, 2010|
To fulfill its social responsibility, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong began to conduct its 2010 Legislative Council by-election survey on April 8, due to end on May 12. Because of resources constraint, the survey is conducted like an irregular quasi rolling poll with small samples size per day but covering a long fieldwork period. When sufficient data is accumulated, the findings will be released in the form of summary reports. All findings will be uploaded onto the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) for public consumption. On April 26, POP released the first summary report which covered the survey period of April 8 to 25. The second summary report released today covers the survey period of April 26 to May 4.
Like other telephone surveys conducted by POP, these LC by-election surveys are conducted by real interviewers under close supervision. Target population of these surveys are general population of all the geographical constituencies aged 18 or above. Telephone numbers are first selected randomly from telephone directories as seed numbers. Another set of numbers is then generated by using the plus/minus one/two method. Duplicate numbers are then screened out, and the remaining numbers mixed in a random order to become the final sample. Upon successful contact being made with a target household, one member of the household is selected among those present using the "next birthday" rule.
As a general practice, all figures 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 2009 year-end. All the result findings are based on the weighted figures.
POP interviewed a total of 1,517 Hong Kong citizens including 1,241 registered voters about their views on 2010 Legislative Council by-election in seven separate days between April 26-30 and May 3-4 by means of random telephone interviews conducted by real interviewers. The sampling error of figures using the overall sample is below +/-3% at 95% confidence level, and the response rate of the survey is 69%. Contact information of the survey is as follows:
Propensity to vote
The survey of the second stage reveals that 44% of registered voters throughout Hong Kong would likely vote, which is similar to that in first stage, but the percentage in Kowloon West constituency has increased considerably (up by 5%; please see "candidate strength in each constituency" table for details). It should be noted that, 44% likely voters would not give a 44% turnout rate, because many people who claim they would vote at this stage would eventually not vote.
Candidate strength in each constituency
In this analysis, "firm votes" is defined as likely voters who have already decided how to vote, while "stray votes" is defined as likely voters who have not decided how they would vote, or those who would not support any candidates and might cast blank votes. Statistics for the five constituencies are as follows, using "firm votes" as basis and all registered voters as sample base:
 Chan Yuet-tung and To Sum were candidates of HK Island and Kowloon East constituencies respectively in the first place. Since they have been verified as invalid by Election Affairs Office, they are discarded from this table.
 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.
 These analyses are based on "firm votes" using all registered voters as sample base, while "stray votes" have been excluded. It is slightly different from those presented in the first summary report. If necessary, readers can re-base their analyses after excluding "unlikely voters", or even "stray voters". The percentages will be different, but candidate strength will remain unchanged.
Note: The following commentary was written by Director of POP Robert Chung.
To fulfill its social responsibility, POP today releases its summary report on the survey findings for the forthcoming Legislative Council by-election again. By-election surveys are conducted in the mode of quasi rolling poll. The first stage covered 14 survey days from April 8 to 25, while the second stage covered 7 survey days from April 26 to May 4. The sample size of both stages are similar, each with over 1,500 valid samples including over 1,200 registered voters. The first stage belongs to first half of the campaign period while the second stage belongs to mid-late stage of the campaign period.
Our latest survey shows that, in general, the propensity to vote among registered voters has not changed much in between the first half and mid-late stage of the campaign period, both less than 45%. If we would depreciate the figure by half or one-third to calculate the final turnout rate, we would have a figure between 22% and 29%, which is much lower than that of 2008. However, our latest survey shows that the propensity to vote among Kowloon West voters has increased by 5 percentage points and gets close to 50%, which is very different from other constituencies.
Regarding candidate strengths, we first identify registered voters in our sample, and then split the sample into "firm votes", "stray votes" and "unlikely votes" within each constituency. "Firm votes" is defined as likely voters who have already decided how to vote; "stray votes" is defined as likely voters who have not decided how to vote, plus those who would not support any candidate and might cast blank votes. In our latest survey, the percentages of "unlikely voters" stand high at 53% to 58% across different constituencies, which is rare.
From our analysis, although our sample size is small and sampling errors high, because voting propensity is low, candidate strengths are quite lopsided across four of the five constituencies. However, the situation in Kowloon West is getting tighter, because the support rate of Peck Wan-kam is increasing, to just 8 percentage points behind Wong Yuk-man. Given that sampling errors stand at 5 to 7 percentage points and the voting propensity in that constituency is increasing, the situation is still unstable and worth studying in depth.