HKU POP releases the first Budget follow-up surveyBack

 
Press Release on February 7, 2012

| Special Announcement | Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Future Releases (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2012 Financial Budget) |


Special Announcement

The "PopCon" e-platform (http://popcon.hk) hosted by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong is now running the "CE Nomination Guessing Game", to measure users' intelligent guesses. The latest situation is that Henry Tang leads Leung Chun-ying and Albert Ho, with guestimates of 611, 243 and 201 nominations respectively.


Abstract

People's instant reaction to the Budget in the first night was quite positive, with 38% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction rate of 12 percentage points. Satisfaction rating was 57.0 marks. One to two days later, after widespread coverage by the media, between February 2 and 3, POP interviewed 504 Hong Kong people again by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The latest survey shows that satisfaction rate slightly increases to 39%, dissatisfaction rate also goes up to 30%, net satisfaction rate narrows down to positive 9 percentage points, while satisfaction rating also goes down to 52.6 marks. This shows people's response turned slightly more negative, which is normal, and this year's development is not particularly serious. 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 latest survey, relatively more people feel that that the relief measures suggested by the FS this year are not enough, that the Budget cannot face the risk of the external environment, and that the Budget has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots. However, 55% are satisfied with this year's arrangement of not granting $6,000 to each citizen. Also, 56% consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but 70% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, and only 33% are satisfied with the government's fiscal policies. 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 +/-1.8. The response rate of the survey is 64%.


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 504 successful interviews, not 504 x 63.7% 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 +/-1.8 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. There is no change to our operation this year.


Latest Figures

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-year 2011. Herewith the contact information of relevant surveys:

Year of survey

Date of survey

Total sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of %[6]

2012 First Follow-up

2-3/2/2012

504

63.7%

+/-4%

2012 Instant

1/2/2012

1,015

71.1%

+/-3%

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 2010 to 2012 together with their corresponding instant polls are tabulated below:

2012

 

Instant survey[10]

First follow-up survey[7]

Latest change

Date of survey

1/2/2012

2-3/2/2012

--

Sample base

1,015

504

--

Overall response rate

71.1%

63.7%

--

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate[8]

38%

39+/-4%

+1%

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate[8]

26%

30+/-4%

+4%

Mean value[8]

3.1+/-0.1
(base=801)

3.0+/-0.1
(base=484)

-0.1

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

57.0

52.6+/-1.8

-4.4[9]

2011

 

Instant survey[11]

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[12]

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]

[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 826.
[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 911.
[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 724.


Our first Budget follow-up survey reveals that 39% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 30% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 3.0, meaning "half-half" in general. The average rating registered for the Budget was 52.6 marks. With respect to people's specific reactions towards the contents of this year's Budget, relevant findings are summarized below:

Date of survey

2-3/2/2012[13]

Sample base

504

Overall response rate

63.7%

Measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people's stress brought by the economic downturn include: waiving rates for 2012–13, subject to a ceiling of $2,500 per quarter, granting each residential electricity account a subsidy of $1,800, paying two months' rent for public housing tenants, increasing the child and parents allowance, granting an extra-month allowance to CSSA recipients and reducing salaries tax by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $12,000. Do you think these measures are enough?

Enough

Not Enough

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

42+/-4%

52+/-4%

6+/-2%

100%

According to the Financial Secretary, the risk of the external environment may appear in the coming year, therefore he will adopt the "supporting enterprise to preserve the employment, stabilizing our financial system to care for people" strategy. Do you think the proposed measures can face the risk of the external environment as mentioned by him?

Can

Cannot

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

30+/-4%

49+/-4%

21+/-4%

100%

Financial Secretary John Tsang amended the budget plan last year resulting in a grant of $6,000 to each citizen aged 18 or above, yet such a grant did not appear this year. Are you satisfied with this arrangement?

Satisfied

Half-half

Dissatisfied

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

55+/-4%

12+/-3%

30+/-4%

3+/-2%

100%

There is a saying that the budget plan this year has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this saying?

Agree

Half-half

Disagree

Don't know/ hard to say

Total

47+/-4%

9+/-3%

39+/-4%

4+/-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, 42% of the respondents thought that the relief measures suggested by the Financial Secretary are enough, 52% thought the opposite. 30% thought the proposed measures can face the risk of the external environment as mentioned by Financial Secretary, 49% said cannot. Besides, the grant of $6,000 to each citizen in the budget plan last year did not appear this year, and 55% are satisfied with this arrangement, 30% are dissatisfied. On the other hand, 47% of the respondents agree to the saying that the budget plan this year has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots, 39% disagree to it. 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

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

Dissatisfied 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]

2-3/2/2012[14]

504

33+/-4%

43+/-4%

56+/-4%

32+/-4%

20+/-4%

70+/-4%

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 33% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 43% were dissatisfied. With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 56% viewed it fair, whilst 32% thought it unfair. Last of all, 20% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 70% who regarded it unreasonable.


Commentary

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 quite positive, with 38% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction rate of 12 percentage points. Satisfaction rating was 57.0 marks. One to two days later, after widespread coverage by the media, satisfaction rate slightly increases to 39%, dissatisfaction rate also goes up to 30%, net satisfaction rate narrows down to positive 9 percentage points, while satisfaction rating also goes down to 52.6 marks. This shows people's response turned slightly more negative, which is normal, and this year's development is not particularly serious. 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 latest survey, relatively more people feel that that the relief measures suggested by the FS this year are not enough, that the Budget cannot face the risk of the external environment, and that the Budget has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots. However, 55% are satisfied with this year's arrangement of not granting $6,000 to each citizen. Also, 56% consider Hong Kong's tax system to be fair, but 70% consider the distribution of wealth to be unreasonable, and only 33% are satisfied with the government's fiscal policies."



Future Releases (Tentative)

  • February 9, 2012 (Thursday) 1pm to 2pm: Rating of Top Ten Legislative Councillors
  • February 14, 2012 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of CE and Principal Officials

| Special Announcement | Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Future Release (Tentative) |
| Detailed Finding (Follow-up survey of the 2012 Financial Budget) |