HKU POP SITE releases POP-NOW survey on political reform for the ninth timeBack
|Press Release on May 24, 2010|
Since its establishment in 1991, the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong has been conducting different types of opinion studies on social and political issues, as well as providing research services for different organizations, on condition that POP would design and conduct all studies independently, and could also release the findings for public consumption. In November 2009, POP came into agreement with the "now News Channel" for a project called "Joint Public Opinion Research Project on Political Reform". The main objective of the project is to demonstrate, by focusing on ongoing discussions of political reform, how independent research institute and professional news media investigate, analyze, report and comment on public opinion, including the explanation and promotion of professional ethics of opinion studies. The project comprises conducting regular and ad-hoc opinion surveys and other public opinion studies after the launching of public consultation by the government. The survey results will first be released in the "now News Channel", followed by POP press releases for public consumption. "now News Channel" agrees to POP uploading these programmes to the POP Site for public education, while POP agrees that "now News Channel" uses these findings for productions without POP's involvement. There has been a total of eight releases of survey findings from December 2009 to May 2010. Today we release the results of our latest survey. Please cite the source of the figures when using them.
The latest survey findings released by POP through now News Channel today have been weighted according to the provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in 2009 year-end. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:
Latest findings are as follows：
 The question wordings in February and March were "For the Chief Executive election in 2012, it is proposed that the representatives of Election Committee should be increased from 800 to 1,200 with around 100 representatives returned through election by elected District Council members from among themselves. Besides, every 150 Committee members can nominate 1 Chief Executive candidate, that is, the nomination threshold is set at the ratio of one-eighth of the total membership of the Election Committee. How much do you support or oppose this proposal?"
 The question wordings in February and March were "For the Legislative Council election in 2012, it is proposed that there should be 5 more seats of geographical constituencies and 5 more seats of functional constituencies which are returned through election by elected District Council members from among themselves, while existing functional seats remain unchanged. How much do you support or oppose this proposal?"
 Collapsed from a 5-point scale. The mean value is calculated by quantifying all individual responses into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 marks according to their degree of positive level, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest, and then calculate the sample mean.
 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.
 Survey was sponsored by Ming Pao and the result was released on April 30.
 Sample base of this survey on "proposals of CE and Legco in 2012 elections" was 1,010. Survey period was 26-29/4.
 Sample base of this survey on "passing of political reform proposals by Legco" was 1,005. Survey period was 26-30/4.
 Half of the sample used the question mode of "A+B" while the other half used the mode of "B+A", same as other survey series. Practically, the two modes are: "The Government has announced its political reform proposal for 2012. It is suggested that the Legislative Council (Legco) should pass the proposal so political reform won't stand still. It is also suggested that the Legco should veto the proposal because it does not mention the roadmap to universal suffrage and the abolition of functional constituencies. Do you think the Legco should pass or veto the proposal?" and "The Government has announced its political reform proposal for 2012. It is suggested that the Legco should veto the proposal because it does not mention the roadmap to universal suffrage and the abolition of functional constituencies. It is also suggested that the Legislative Council (Legco) should pass the proposal so political reform won't stand still. Do you think the Legco should pass or veto the proposal?".
With respect to the Government's proposal of Chief Executive election in 2012, results showed that 39% of the respondents supported and 34% opposed this proposal. As for the Government's proposal on the Legislative Council election in 2012, it attained a support rate of 35%, versus 37% opposition. The mean quantified scores for both questions are 3.0 and 2.8 respectively, which means "half-half". Regarding the passing or veto of the Government's proposal, 46% of the respondents think that the Legco should pass the proposal while 37% think the Legco should veto it. Latest findings of other survey questions are as follows:
Results also showed that, among the 338 respondents who voted in the Legco by-election on May 16, 59% said they had decided to vote "since the candidates considered to run the election, or earlier". 15% said they had decided "on the election day". Meanwhile, among the 492 respondents who did not vote on May 16, 67% said they had decided not to vote "since the candidates considered to run the election, or earlier". 11% said they made the decision "on the election day". As for the reasons for not voting, 37% explained it was because "election is unnecessary, wasting public resources", 16% thought there were "no suitable candidates / not satisfied with candidates' performances" and 15% said they "opposed / did not support the referendum movement".
Note: The following commentary is extracted and enhanced from the comments made by the Director of Public Opinion Programme Dr Robert Chung on May 24, 2010 in the "now News Channel" programme "News Magazine", in the "now Survey on Political Reform" segment. Some questions and answers are provided by POP.
Q: Why has people's support for the government's political reform proposals dropped?
A: Many events have happened last week, including the by-election on May 16, kicking-off of the government's promotion campaign, public discussion of the TV promotional clips regarding the political reform, and certainly CE's invitation to Audrey Eu for an open debate. Since the survey period was conducted from May 18 to 20, the most important factor of open debate is yet to ripe, with uncertain effect.
Q: About 60% to 65% voters have already decided whether or not to vote a long time ago, does it mean they have made up their mind long before?
A: Combining the latest survey with past exit polls, analysis shows that the effect of final stage mobilization in this by-election is very limited. Put it in another way, advocates of the referendum movement did not succeed in the mobilizing voters in the last few days, while those who opposed the referendum movement have successfully compressed the turnout rate in the final days.
Q: Can you predict future opinion change?
A: Probably due to the election effect, the opposition voice was getting louder over the week past. The key now lies in the open debate, which would have a very significant effect. The Chief Executive Election Debates in 2007 and this year's debate on a public policy this time are important milestones of democratic development. People in all spheres, including those inside and outside the establishment, must interpret public opinion with care, and not to make good things bad.