HKU POP releases the third survey on this year's BudgetBack

 
Press Release on March 29, 2011

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Indepth Analysis | Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up Poll of the 2011 Financial Budget ) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,009 Hong Kong people from 10 to 16 March by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers, we find that as the Financial Secretary revised the Budget in early March, people's satisfaction of the Budget has rebounded dramatically. First, dissatisfaction rate soars from 35% in our instant survey to 53% in our second survey, then drops to 45% in this third survey, while satisfaction rate goes back to the level registered in our instant survey. Net satisfaction narrows to negative 16 percentage points, but is still poorer than the negative 8 percentage points registered in the instant survey. In-depth analyses show that the post-80s youngsters are more dissatisfied with the Budget than the non-post-80s, while the grassroots are more satisfied than other social strata. The rating of the Budget now stands at 48.5 points, after a recovery of 6.8 points, but still lower than the 51.5 registered in our instant survey. On the proposal of increasing land supply, on various relief measures, and also on the government's fiscal policies and general responsibilities, people still shake their heads, but are feeling better in general because of the revisions. People continue to consider Hong Kong's tax system fair, but the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Finally, 25% say they have increased their confidence in the Financial Secretary after he revised the Budget, 30% say their confidence has decreased, while 43% remain unchanged. It seems that people's anger has somewhat subsided after the Budget is revised, but the situation is still grave, and the government should remain cautious. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.6. The response rate of the survey is 66%.

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 overall sample size of this survey is 1,009 successful interviews, not 1,009 x 65.6% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
[3] The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.6. "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 +/-1.6 and sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% 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

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. In 2008, we revised our research design by splitting up our instant survey into two rounds, while our follow-up survey operation weeks later remains intact, to become the third survey under our new design. 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 third survey released today is the first of its type. We believe this is a better way to study public opinion on these issues: measuring people's instant reaction first, and then repeat these measurements later to find out people's more matured reaction.

For this year's Budget, in our first survey, we measured people's overall appraisal of the Budget, their rating of the Budget, and the Financial Secretary's popularity. Our results were released on February 24. For 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. Our results were released on March 1 respectively. Today we are releasing the results of our third and last survey.


Latest Figures

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 2010 year-end. Herewith the contact information of various surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Sample base

Overall response rate

Sampling error of percentages[6]

2011 third survey

10-16/3/2011

1,009

65.6%

+/-3%

2011 second survey

24-25/2/2011

515

72.6%

+/-4%

2011 instant survey

23/2/2011

1,031

72.8%

+/-3%

[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.

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:

Sample size
(total sample or sub-sample)

Sampling error of percentages[7]
(maximum values)

Sample size
(total sample or sub-sample)

Sampling error of percentages[7]
(maximum values)

1,300

+/- 2.8 %

1,350

 +/- 2.7 %

1,200

+/- 2.9 %

1,250

 +/- 2.8 %

1,100

+/- 3.0 %

1,150

 +/- 3.0 %

1,000

+/- 3.2 %

1,050

 +/- 3.1 %

900

+/- 3.3 %

950

 +/- 3.2 %

800

+/- 3.5 %

850

 +/- 3.4 %

700

+/- 3.8 %

750

 +/- 3.7 %

600

+/- 4.1 %

650

 +/- 3.9 %

500

+/- 4.5 %

550

 +/- 4.3 %

400

+/- 5.0 %

450

 +/- 4.7 %

[7] Based on 95% confidence interval.

Results of the Budget follow-up poll, together with the first two surveys, are tabulated below:

 

Instant survey

Second survey

Third survey

Latest Change

Date of survey

23/2/2011

24-25/2/2011

10-16/3/2011

--

Overall response rate

72.8%

72.6%

65.6%

--

Sub sample size for each qn/ Finding

Base

Finding

Base

Finding

Base

Finding/Error[8]

--

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

911[9]

51.5

515

41.7[12]

1,009

48.5+/-1.6

+6.8[12]

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[10]

911[9]

27%

515

20%[12]

1,009

29+/-3%

+9%[12]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate [10]

911[9]

35%

515

53%[12]

1,009

45+/-3%

-8%[12]

Mean value[10]

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=884)

2.4+/-0.1
(Base=500)

2.7+/-0.1
(Base=990)

+0.3[12]

HKSAR Government has fulfilled its 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

--

--

515

28%

1,009

28+/-3%

--

HKSAR Government has not fulfilled its 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

--

--

515

64%

1,009

63+/-3%

-1%

Measures proposed could stabilize the property market

--

--

515

16%

1,009

24+/-3%

+8%[12]

Measures proposed could not stabilize the property market

--

--

515

75%

1,009

66+/-3%

-9%[12]

Measures to tackle inflation announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient[13]

--

--

515

20%

1,009

46+/-3%

+26%[12]

Measures to tackle inflation announced by the Financial Secretary were insufficient[13]

--

--

515

75%

1,009

49+/-3%

-26%[12]

Confidence towards FS increased after revision of Budget

--

--

--

--

1,009

25+/-3%

--

Confidence towards FS unchanged after revision of Budget

--

--

--

--

1,009

43+/-3%

--

Confidence towards FS decreased after revision of Budget

--

--

--

--

1,009

30+/-3%

--

Satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement[10]

--

--

515

21%

1,009

20+/-3%

-1%

Dissatisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement[10]

--

--

515

52%

1,009

52+/-3%

--

Mean value[10]

--

2.5+/-0.1
(Base=489)

2.5+/-0.1
(Base=957)

--

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be fair[11]

--

--

515

51%

1,009

61+/-3%

+10%[12]

Perceived the tax system in Hong Kong to be unfair[11]

--

--

515

39%

1,009

30+/-3%

-9%[12]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be reasonable[11]

--

--

515

16%

1,009

23+/-3%

+7%[12]

Perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong to be unreasonable[11]

--

--

515

74%

1,009

67+/-3%

-7%[12]

[8] 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. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected. Media can state "sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-1.6, 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.
[9] Excluding respondents who had not heard of/were not clear about the Budget.
[10] 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.
[11] Collapsed from a 4-point scale.
[12] 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.
[13] Question wordings in the second survey were "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?", and in the third survey were changed to "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 giving $6,000 to every Hong Kong citizen aged 18 or above, but will not return the tax. Do you think these relief measures are sufficient?".


The third survey conducted in early and mid March revealed that, 29% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 45% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 2.7 marks, meaning close to "half-half" in general. The average rating registered for the Budget was 48.5 marks. 20% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 52% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 2.5 marks, meaning in between "quite dissatisfied" and "half-half".

On the other hand, 28% of the respondents said HKSAR Government has fulfilled "its 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", 63% said it has not. As for the measures of ensuring a stable development of property market, 24% believed the measures proposed could stabilize the property market, 66% thought the opposite. 46% of the respondents thought that the measures to tackle inflation announced by the Financial Secretary were sufficient and 49% considered them not sufficient. Regarding the revision of Budget earlier made by Financial Secretary, 25% had confidence towards him increased, 43% remained the same, while 30% had confidence decreased.

With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 61% viewed it fair, whilst 30% thought it unfair. Last of all, 23% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 67% who regarded it unreasonable.


Indepth Analysis

In the survey, we also asked respondents for their age. If they were reluctant to give their exact age, they could give us a range. According to their answers, we grouped them into 18-29, 30-49, and 50 years or older. Herewith further analysis of people's satisfaction rate of the Budget by their age:
Date of survey: 10-16/3/11

18-29

30-49

50+

Overall

Satisfaction rate of the Budget Speech[14][15]

Satisfaction

17+/-5%
(34)

22+/-4%
(86)

41+/-5%
(167)

29+/-3%
(286)

Half-half

26+/-6%
(51)

26+/-4%
(103)

21+/-4%
(87)

24+/-3%
(241)

Dissatisfaction

54+/-7%
(105)

52+/-5%
(204)

35+/-5%
(144)

45+/-3%
(452)

Don't know /
hard to say

2+/-2%
(4)

<1+/-1%
(1)

3+/-2%
(11)

2+/-1%
(16)

Total

100%
(194)

100%
(394)

100%
(408)

100%
(996)

Mean value[14][15]

2.5+/-0.1
(190)

2.5+/-0.1
(393)

3.0+/-0.1
(397)

2.7+/-0.1
(980)

[14] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level.
[15] 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.


Besides, we also asked respondents to classify themselves which one of the five social strata they belonged to. The options were: upper, upper-middle, middle-middle, lower-middle and lower stratum or grassroots. According to the choice of respondents, we grouped them into relatively upper, relatively middle and relatively lower strata, or in short form upper, middle and lower strata. Each stratum contains about one-third of the sample. The following table shows the mapping between respondents' choice and their final grouping:

Self-reported social stratum

Social stratum group

Upper stratum

Relatively upper stratum (about one-third)

Upper-middle stratum

Middle-middle stratum

Lower-middle stratum

Relatively middle stratum (about one-third)

Lower stratum or grassroots

Relatively lower stratum (about one-third)

Don't know/hard to say/refuse to answer

Unclassified


Herewith further analysis by respondents' social strata:
Date of survey: 23/2/11

Upper

Middle

Lower

Overall

Satisfaction rate of the Budget Speech[16][17]

Satisfaction

27+/-5%
(94)

24+/-5%
(71)

33+/-5%
(107)

28+/-3%
(272)

Half-half

21+/-4%
(73)

29+/-5%
(88)

21+/-5%
(69)

24+/-3%
(231)

Dissatisfaction

50+/-5%
(171)

46+/-6%
(137)

43+/-6%
(137)

46+/-3%
(445)

Don't know /
hard to say

2+/-2%
(6)

2+/-1%
(3)

2+/-2%
(8)

2+/-1%
(16)

Total

100%
(343)

100%
(299)

100%
(321)

100%
(964)

Mean value[17]

2.6+/-0.1
(338)

2.7+/-0.1
(296)

2.8+/-0.1
(313)

2.7+/-0.1
(948)

[16] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level.
[17] 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.



Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "As the Financial Secretary revised the Budget in early March, people's satisfaction of the Budget has rebounded dramatically. First, dissatisfaction rate soars from 35% in our instant survey to 53% in our second survey, then drops to 45% in this third survey, while satisfaction rate goes back to the level registered in our instant survey. Net satisfaction narrows to negative 16 percentage points, but is still poorer than the negative 8 percentage points registered in the instant survey. In-depth analyses show that the post-80s youngsters are more dissatisfied with the Budget than the non-post-80s, while the grassroots are more satisfied than other social strata. The rating of the Budget now stands at 48.5 points, after a recovery of 6.8 points, but still lower than the 51.5 registered in our instant survey. On the proposal of increasing land supply, on various relief measures, and also on the government's fiscal policies and general responsibilities, people still shake their heads, but are feeling better in general because of the revisions. People continue to consider Hong Kong's tax system fair, but the distribution of wealth unreasonable. Finally, 25% say they have increased their confidence in the Financial Secretary after he revised the Budget, 30% say their confidence has decreased, while 43% remain unchanged. It seems that people's anger has somewhat subsided after the Budget is revised, but the situation is still grave, and the government should remain cautious."


Future Release (Tentative)

  • March 31, 2011 (Thursday) 1pm to 2pm: Ratings of political figures in Mainland China and Taiwan

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Indepth Analysis | Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up Poll of the 2011 Financial Budget ) |