HKU POP releases a Budget follow-up survey and the popularity figures of CE and HKSARGBack

 
Press Release on March 1, 2011

| Special Announcement | Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | (I) The Budget |
| (II) Popularity Figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government |
| Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2011 Financial Budget) |
| Detailed Finding (Popularity of Chief Executive / Popularity of HKSAR Government) |


Special Announcement

An electronic platform called "POPCON" which integrates social-networking, entertainment, shopping and education (SESE) activities targeted at young people was also launched on February 23, 2011, the day when Financial Secretary John Tsang gave his Budget Talk. PopCon now registers almost 5,000 hits. It carries a "Budget Forum for Youths" run by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong, and the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA). The address of PopCon is http://popcon.hkupop.hku.hk.


Abstract

Between February 21 and 25, POP interviewed Hong Kong people on the performance of the Chief Executive and HKSAR Government by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. Between February 24 and 25, POP followed up its survey on the Budget. The surveys show that amidst waves of public anger, people's satisfaction of the Budget has plummeted. Compared to our instant poll, dissatisfaction rate soars from 35% to 53%, while net satisfaction dives to negative 33 percentage points. Very rare in recent years. The rating of the Budget now stands at 41.7 points, after a big drop of 9.8 points. On the proposal of increasing land supply, on various relief measures, and also on the government's fiscal policies and general responsibilities, people have all shaken their heads. The percentage of those who consider Hong Kong's tax system to be unfair, and the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, have all reached record high since this question series began in 2002. Moreover, the support rating of CE Donald Tsang has dropped sharply to 48.7 marks, while his disapproval rate goes up to 55%, giving a net popularity of negative 23 percentage points. As for the popularity of the SAR Government, compared to a month ago, dissatisfaction rate has increased significantly by 8 percentage points, while its net popularity plunges to negative 14 percentage points. It seems time for the government to switch on its crisis mentality to face the mounting public anger. 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 +/-1.4 and +/-2.1. The response rate of the survey is 71%.

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 1,020 successful interviews, not 1,020 x 71.4% 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 +/-2.1 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. Starting 2011, we revised our design to concentrate on people's appraisal of the Budget and FS's popularity in our instant survey, and move the remaining questions to our follow-up survey. The follow-up survey released today is the first of its type.


Latest Figures


(I) The Budget

The findings of the first 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 mid-2010. Herewith the contact information of relevant surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %[6]

2011 First Follow-up

24-25/2/2011

515

72.6%

+/-4%

2011 Instant

23/2/2011

1,031

72.8%

+/-3%

2010 First Follow-up

25-27/2/2010

517

67.1%

+/-4%

2010 Instant

24/2/2010

1,008

65.9%

+/-3%

2009 First Follow-up

26/2/2009

525

66.5%

+/-4%

2009 Instant

25/2/2009

1,015

67.7%

+/-3%

2008 First Follow-up

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] 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. 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 first Budget follow-up surveys of 2009 to 2011 together with their corresponding instant polls are tabulated below:

2011

 

Instant survey[10]

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

23/2/2011

24-25/2/2011

--

Sample base

1,031

515

--

Overall response rate

72.8%

72.6%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[8]

27%

20+/-4%

-7%[9]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[8]

35%

53+/-4%

+18%[9]

Mean value[8]

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=884)

2.4+/-0.1
(
Base=500)

-0.4[9]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

51.5

41.7+/-2.1

-9.8[9]

2010

 

Instant survey[11]

First follow-up 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]

Mean value[8]

3.4+/-0.1
(Base=698)

3.1+/-0.1
(
Base=476)

-0.3[9]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

60.8

56.3+/-1.7

-4.5[9]

2009

 

Instant survey[12]

First follow-up 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]

Mean value[8]

3.1+/-0.1
(Base=636)

2.8+/-0.1
(
Base=478)

-0.3[9]

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

54.8

51.0+/-1.7

-3.8[9]

[7] All error figures 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. 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.
[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 911.
[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 724.
[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 669.


Our first Budget follow-up survey reveals that 20% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 53% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 2.4, meaning close to "dissatisfied" in general. The average rating registered for the Budget was 41.7 marks. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

Date of survey

24-25/2/2011[13]

Sample base

515

Overall response rate

72.6%

Regarding the proposal of increasing the land supply in the Financial Budget, do you think it can effectively solve the property problem of Hong Kong?

Can

Cannot

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

16+/-3%

75+/-4%

10+/-3%

100%

In light of inflation, Financial Secretary proposed a few measures to soothe people's pressure, including waiving rates for 2011-12, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter, granting each residential electricity account a subsidy of $1,800, paying two months' rent for public housing tenants, raising the child and parents allowance by 20 per cent, and the one-off injection of $6,000 into the MPF accounts of all MPF scheme members, but will not return the tax. Do you think these relief measures are sufficient?

Sufficient

Not sufficient

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

20+/-4%

75+/-4%

5+/-2%

100%

Financial Secretary said, it is the government's responsibility to create the environment, guarantee equal opportunity, ensure fair competition, and tackling fluctuation of the economy or the breaking down of market with appropriate policies. Do you think the HKSAR Government has fulfilled such responsibilities?

Yes

No

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

28+/-4%

64+/-4%

8+/-2%

100%

[13] All error figures 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.

Results showed that, 16% of the respondents thought that the proposal of increasing the land supply in the Financial Budget can effectively solve the property problem in Hong Kong, 75% thought the opposite. 20% thought the relief measures proposed by Financial Secretary in soothing people's pressure of inflation were sufficient, 75% said insufficient. Besides, Financial Secretary said, it is the government's responsibility to create the environment, guarantee equal opportunity, ensure fair competition, and tackling fluctuation of the economy or the breaking down of market with appropriate policies, 28% considered the HKSAR Government has fulfilled such responsibility, 64% considered not. 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]

24-25/2/2011[14]

515

21+/-4%

52+/-4%

51+/-4%

39+/-4%

16+/-3%

74+/-4%

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 error figures 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 21% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 52% were dissatisfied. With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 51% viewed it fair, whilst 39% thought it unfair. Last of all, 16% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 74% 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-2010. Herewith the contact information for the survey:

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of percentages[17]

21-25/2/2011

1,020

71.4%

+/-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

17-22/12/10

5-12/1/11

18-26/1/11

7-11/2/11

21-25/2/11

Latest Change

Sample base

1,017

1,025

1,018

1,027

1,020

--

Overall response rate

66.4%

64.9%

65.8%

67.1%

71.4%

--

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error[18]

--

Rating of CE Donald Tsang

53.3

54.6[20]

53.5

51.9[20]

48.7+/-1.4

-3.2[20]

Vote of confidence in CE Donald Tsang

39%

39%

38%

34%[20]

31+/-3%

-3%

Vote of no confidence in CE Donald Tsang

44%

45%

46%

50%[20]

55+/-3%

+5%[20]

Net approval rate

-5%

-6%

-8%

-16%

-23%

-7%

Satisfaction rate of SARG performance[19]

29%

--

30%

--

26+/-3%

-4%[20]

Dissatisfaction rate of SARG performance[19]

35%[20]

--

32%

--

40+/-3%

+8%[20]

Net satisfaction

-6%

--

-2%

--

-14%

-12%

Mean value[19]

2.8+/-0.1[20]
(Base=1,010)

--

2.9+/-0.1
(Base=1,004)

--

2.7+/-0.1
(
Base=1,012)

-0.2[20]

[18] All error figures 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. Media can state "sampling error of rating not more than +/1.4, 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. 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.
[20] 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 survey shows that CE Donald Tsang's rating stands at 48.7 marks, with an approval rate of 31% and a disapproval rate of 55%, the net approval rate is negative 23%. Regarding people's appraisal of the overall performance of the HKSAR Government, the latest figures are 26% satisfied, 40% dissatisfied, net satisfaction was negative 14%. The mean score is 2.7, meaning close to "half-half" in general.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Amidst waves of public anger, people's satisfaction of the Budget has plummeted. Compared to our instant poll, dissatisfaction rate soars from 35% to 53%, while net satisfaction dives to negative 33 percentage points. Very rare in recent years. The rating of the Budget now stands at 41.7 points, after a big drop of 9.8 points. On the proposal of increasing land supply, on various relief measures, and also on the government's fiscal policies and general responsibilities, people have all shaken their heads. The percentage of those who consider Hong Kong's tax system to be unfair, and the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, have all reached record high since this question series began in 2002. Moreover, the support rating of CE Donald Tsang has dropped sharply to 48.7 marks, while his disapproval rate goes up to 55%, giving a net popularity of negative 23 percentage points. As for the popularity of the SAR Government, compared to a month ago, dissatisfaction rate has increased significantly by 8 percentage points, while its net popularity plunges to negative 14 percentage points. It seems time for the government to switch on its crisis mentality to face the mounting public anger."


Future Release (Tentative)

  • March 8, 2011 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Rating of top ten political groups

| Special Announcement | Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | (I) The Budget |
| (II) Popularity Figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government |
| Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2011 Financial Budget) |
| Detailed Finding (Popularity of Chief Executive / Popularity of HKSAR Government) |