The Public Opinion Programme (POP) was established in June 1991 to collect and study public opinion on topics that could be of interest to academics, journalists, policy-makers, and the general public. POP was at first under the Social Sciences Research Centre, a unit under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, and was transferred to the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in the University of Hong Kong in May 2000. In January 2002, it was transferred back to the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Hong Kong. Since its establishment, POP has been conducting opinion researches on various social and political issues and providing quality survey services to a wide range of organizations provided that they agreed to allowing the research team to design and conduct the research independently, and to ultimately open the findings for public consumption.
In November 2003, after all concerts of Hong Kong Harbour Fest had officially ended, the Audit Commission of the HKSAR Government commissioned POP to conduct a telephone survey to gauge public opinion on this event. The main areas of investigation were:
The POP Team was given full autonomy to design and conduct this survey. The Audit Commission also gave input to the design of the questionnaire, but the ultimate responsibility of the research design and date interpretation lied entirely in the POP Team.