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

 
Press Release on March 20, 2012

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


Special Announcement

1) The “3.23 Civil Referendum Project” and “3.21 Mock Civil Referendum Project” initiated by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong will proceed as planned. POP has held its third press conference today (March 20, 2012) to report the arrangement in details and demonstrate the voting process.

 

2) The “CE Election Guessing Game” hosted by the “PopCon” e-platform (http://popcon.hk) of POP has already been launched, users can now make guesses on the result of the Chief Executive Election due to take place on March 25, until 00:00AM on the election day. The latest situation is that Leung Chun-ying leads Henry Tang and Albert Ho, with guestimates of 602, 409 and 174 votes respectively.

 


Abstract

POP interviewed 1,010 Hong Kong people from 7 to 9 March by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that people’s satisfaction with the Budget goes up slightly from 38% in our instant survey to 39% in our second survey, then plummets to 25% in this third survey. Net satisfaction drops from positive 12 percentage points registered in the instant survey to negative 1 percentage point in this survey. People’s rating of the Budget now stands at 53.0 points, poorer than the 57.0 points registered in our instant survey. In terms of specific policies, people remain negative on the relief measures suggested by the FS, and the ability of the Budget to face the risk of external environment. More people continue to consider the Budget has appealed to the middle class and ignored the grassroots, but the majority agrees to this year’s practice of not granting $6,000 to each citizen. Finally, people continue to consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. People’s satisfaction with the government’s fiscal policies remains negative, only 26% are satisfied. The maximum sampling error of all percentages is +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.3. 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 1,010 successful interviews, not 1,010 x 65.8% 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 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 rating not more than +/-1.3 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 2. 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 February 7 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 2011 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]

2012 third survey

7-9/3/2012

1,010

65.8%

+/-3%

2012 second survey

2-3/2/2012

504

63.7%

+/-4%

2012 instant survey

1/2/2012

1,015

71.1%

+/-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:

 

Date of survey

Instant survey

Second survey

Third survey

Latest Change

1/2/2012

2-3/2/2012

7-9/3/2012

--

Overall response rate

71.1%

63.7%

65.8%

--

Sub sample size for each qn/ Finding

Base

Finding

Base

Finding

Base

Finding/Error[8]

--

Satisfaction rating of Budget (0 to 100 marks)

826[9]

57.0

504

52.6[12]

1,010

53.0+/-1.3

+0.4

Appraisal of Budget: Satisfaction rate [10]

826 [9]

38%

504

39%

1,010

25+/-3%

-14%[12]

Appraisal of Budget: Dissatisfaction rate [10]

826 [9]

26%

504

30%

1,010

26+/-3%

-4%[12]

Mean value[10]

3.1+/-0.1
(Base=801)

3.0+/-0.1
(Base=484)

2.9+/-0.1
(Base=832)

-0.1

Measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people’s stress brought by the economic downturn are enough to relieve people’s stress

--

--

504

42%

1,010

45+/-3%

+3%

Measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people’s stress brought by the economic downturn are not enough to relieve people’s stress

--

--

504

52%

1,010

49+/-3%

-3%

Measures proposed can face the risk of the external environment as mentioned by the Financial Secretary

--

--

504

30%

1,010

27+/-3%

-3%

Measures proposed cannot face the risk of the external environment as mentioned by the Financial Secretary

--

--

504

49%

1,010

48+/-3%

-1%

Satisfied with the Financial Secretary not granting $6,000 to each citizen aged 18 or above this year

--

--

504

55%

1,010

51+/-3%

-4%[12]

Dissatisfied with the Financial Secretary not granting $6,000 to each citizen aged 18 or above this year

--

--

504

30%

1,010

32+/-3%

+2%

Agree the budget plan this year has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots

--

--

504

47%

1,010

46+/-3%

-1%

Disagree the budget plan this year has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots

--

--

504

39%

1,010

35+/-3%

-4%[12]

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

--

--

504

33%

1,010

26+/-3%

-7%[12]

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

--

--

504

43%

1,010

43+/-3%

--

Mean value[10]

--

2.8+/-0.1
(Base=486)

2.7+/-0.1
(Base=941)

-0.1

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

--

--

504

56%

1,010

52+/-3%

-4%[12]

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

--

--

504

32%

1,010

36+/-3%

+4%[12]

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

--

--

504

20%

1,010

23+/-3%

+3%

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

--

--

504

70%

1,010

67+/-3%

-3%

[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 +/-1.3, 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.

The third survey conducted in early March revealed that, 25% of the respondents were satisfied with the Budget and 26% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 2.9 marks, meaning close to “half-half” in general. The average rating registered for the Budget was 53.0 marks. 26% were satisfied with the government's strategy in monetary arrangement, whereas 43% were dissatisfied. The mean score is 2.7 marks, meaning in between “quite dissatisfied” and “half-half”.

 

On the other hand, 45% of the respondents said measures suggested by the Financial Secretary to relieve people’s stress brought by the economic downturn were enough to relieve people’s stress, 49% said they were not enough. As for the measures proposed to face the risk of the external environment as mentioned by the Financial Secretary, 27% believed the measures proposed could face the risk, 48% thought the opposite. 51% of the respondents were satisfied with the Financial Secretary not granting $6,000 to each citizen aged 18 or above this year and 32% were dissatisfied. Regarding the saying that the budget plan this year has appealed to the middle class but ignored the grassroots, 46% agreed with this saying whereas 35% disagreed.

 

With respect to Hong Kong's tax system, 52% considered it fair, whilst 36% thought the opposite. Last of all, 23% perceived the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong reasonable, as contrast to 67% who regarded it unreasonable.




Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, “Over the years, we find people's receptiveness of the government's Budget drops after it has been debated for some time. This year is no exception, as people’s satisfaction rate goes up slightly from 38% in our instant survey to 39% in our second survey, then plummets to 25% in this third survey. Net satisfaction drops from positive 12 percentage points registered in the instant survey to negative 1 percentage point in this survey. People’s rating of the Budget now stands at 53.0 points, poorer than the 57.0 points registered in our instant survey. In terms of specific policies, people remain negative on the relief measures suggested by the FS, and the ability of the Budget to face the risk of external environment. More people continue to consider the Budget has appealed to the middle class and ignored the grassroots, but the majority agrees to this year’s practice of not granting $6,000 to each citizen. Finally, people continue to consider Hong Kong’s tax system fair, but consider the distribution of wealth unreasonable. People’s satisfaction with the government’s fiscal policies remains negative, only 26% are satisfied.”




Future Release (Tentative)
  • March 27, 2012 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Latest trust and confidence indicators

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