PROP releases the latest survey result on political reform

Press Release on November 28, 2007
 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Twelfth Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |

Background
 

In May 2007, 22 pan-democratic Legislative Councillors reached an agreement with the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong, whereby POP would conduct, roughly twice a month, regular opinion surveys to gauge people's views on universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council. Moreover, the pan-democrats would also sponsor POP to set up an online "Political Reform Opinion Platform" (PROP) at the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) for the public to express their views on political reform. The platform is designed and operated independently by POP.

POP has already explained the operation and design of these surveys many times, we will briefly explain them again. According to research agreement reached between POP and the pan-democrats, every survey in this tracking series of political reform surveys would include two questions on people's support of the political reform proposals by the pan-democrats, one on their proposal for introducing universal suffrage to the CE election in 2012, and the other on introducing universal suffrage to Legco election in 2012. POP would decide on what other questions to ask. Moreover, POP would also be solely responsible for designing and analyzing all questions in all surveys.

After thorough consideration of the resources available and the current social conditions, we decided to use 12 consecutive tracking surveys as our basis of planning. We decided that in the 9 surveys conducted before the close of the government consultation period on political reform, other than repeating the questions on pan-democrats' proposals each time, we would also measure public opinion on the timetable of universal suffrage in every alternative survey, and to ask people once every two months their views on the sufficiency of conditions in Hong Kong for introducing universal suffrage. After the consultation period, we would adjust our operation according to the current situation. Even during the consultation period, we also compiled ad hoc questions from time to time for feature discussions, depending on the talking points of the time. In every press release which we put out, we would explain in detail the objectives of introducing these questions and their results. We welcome everybody, especially professionals in the polling industry, to comment on the pros and cons of our survey design.

We are glad to report that the pan-democrats have hitherto given us great respect. They fully accepted our research autonomy and professional ethics, even when the findings are not favourable to them. Other than praising them for their open-mindedness, we also hope that other organizations including Government departments would adopt the same attitude to respect the research autonomy of academic institutions when commissioning opinion surveys, so that our civil society can advance to new heights.

Herewith the fieldwork periods and release dates of all surveys of the series:

  Serial number  Survey period   Sample size   Release date 
  1st survey  1-7/6/07   1,022   10/6/07 
  2nd survey  18-22/6/07   1,026   25/6/07 
  3rd survey  3-6/7/07   1,011   9/7/07 
  4th survey  23-26/7/07   1,007   30/7/07 
  5th survey  6-10/8/07   1,013   13/8/07 
  6th survey  20-24/8/07   1,010   27/8/07 
  7th survey  4-7/9/07   1,025   10/9/07 
  8th survey  17-21/9/07   1,027   25/9/07 
  9th survey  2-5/10/07   1,008   8/10/07 
  10th survey  22-25/10/07   1,016   31/10/07 
  11th survey  5-9/11/07   1,009   14/11/07 
  12th survey  21-26/11/07   1,012   28/11/07 

The findings of the above surveys have been uploaded at the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" (http://hkpop.hk) and the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk). At the same time, POP welcome readers to express their views on the platform, while journalists are also welcome to email their questions to <[email protected]>. We will reply as soon as we can, and will upload the questions and answers to the "Press Corner" of the Platform for public reference. 


Latest Figures

The latest survey findings released by POP today have been weighted according to the provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in mid-2007. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey: 
 Date of survey   Sample base   Overall response rate   Sampling error of percentages* 
 21-26/11/07   1,012   71.0%   +/- 3% 
* "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.
 

Since June 2007, we have measured people's support for the pan-democrats' proposals on 2012 CE and LC elections 12 times. Please refer to the POP Site regarding the results of the first 11 surveys. Results of the latest survey are as follows:

Date of survey

17-21/9

2-5/10

22-25/10

5-9/11

21-26/11

Latest change

Average
during consultation period^

Average
for all surveys#

Sample base

1,027

1,008

1,016

1,009

1,012

--

Overall response rate

65.5%

65.4%

67.4%

66.3%

71.0%

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Regarding the Chief Executive election in 2012, it is proposed that 400 directly elected district councillors should be added to the existing 800-member Election Committee, adding up to a total of approximately 1,200 committee members. The number of subscribers required should be 50 regardless of the sector they belong to. The Chief Executive should ultimately be elected by universal suffrage. Do you support or oppose this proposal?**

Support

57%

58%

53%

56%

58%

+2%

57%

56%

Half-half

16%

17%

20%

17%

18%

+1%

18%

18%

Oppose

16%

16%

16%

20%

16%

-4%

16%

17%

Don't know/hard to say

10%

10%

10%

7%

9%

+2%

9%

10%

Regarding the Legislative Council election in 2012, it is proposed that a mixed election model would be adopted, whereby half of the seats would be returned by a "single seat single vote" simple majority system. The other half of the seats would be returned through elections by the "proportional representation system" so that each voter can cast two votes. Do you support or oppose this proposal?**

Support

50%

47%

45%

47%

48%

+1%

49%

47%

Half-half

16%

18%

19%

19%

19%

--

17%

18%

Oppose

14%

17%

18%

19%

17%

-2%

17%

18%

Don't know/hard to say

20%

18%

19%

16%

17%

+1%

16%

17%

* "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.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
^ Calculated from 6 surveys conducted during the consultation period of "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" (i.e. from July 11 to October 10, 2007). 
# Calculated from all 12 surveys conducted since June 2007. 
 

With respect to the pan-democrats' proposal regarding universal suffrage for CE in 2012, the question wordings used in this survey were: "It is proposed that 400 directly elected district councilors would be added to the existing 800-member Election Committee, adding up to a total of approximately 1,200 committee members. The number of subscribers required would be 50 regardless of the sector they belong to. The Chief Executive would finally be returned by universal suffrage." Results of our survey conducted in late November showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 58% versus 16% opposition. Throughout the past 12 surveys, this proposal attained an average support rate of 56%, versus 17% opposition on average. As for the pan-democrats' proposal regarding universal suffrage for Legislative Council in 2012, the question wordings used in this survey were: "It is proposed that a mixed election model would be adopted, whereby half of the seats would be returned by a "single seat single vote" simple majority system. The other half of the seats would be returned through elections by the "proportional representation system" so that each voter can cast two votes. Results of our survey conducted in late November showed that this proposal attained a support rate of 48%, versus 17% opposition. Throughout the past 12 surveys, this proposal attained an average support rate of 47%, versus 18% opposition on average.

Besides, the survey gauged respondents' demands for universal suffrage for CE and Legislative Council. Results are as follows:

Date of survey

4-7/9

2-5/10

22-25/10

5-9/11

21-26/11

Latest change

Average
during consultation period^

Average
for all surveys#

Sample base

1,025

1,008

1,016

1,009

1,012

--

Overall response rate

66.0%

65.4%

67.4%

66.3%

71.0%

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Article 45 of Basic Law states that the method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. If only given the following choices, which year would you prefer implementing the selection of CE by universal suffrage?

2012 (5 years later)

55%

58%

53%

54%

58%

+4%

57%

56%

2017 (10 years later)

27%

26%

30%

30%

27%

-3%

26%

28%

2022 (15 years later)

5%

5%

4%

5%

4%

-1%

5%

5%

2027 (20 years later)

5%

3%

4%

5%

4%

-1%

4%

4%

Don't know/hard to say

8%

7%

9%

7%

8%

+1%

8%

8%

Article 68 of Basic Law states that the method for forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. If only given the following choices, which year would you prefer implementing the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage?

2012 (5 years later)

64%

67%

57%

60%

64%

+4%

66%

63%

2016 (9 years later)

17%

18%

23%

21%

20%

-1%

18%

20%

2020 (13 years later)

6%

4%

6%

7%

4%

-3%

5%

5%

2024 (17 years later)

2%

2%

2%

2%

2%

--

2%

2%

2028 (21 years later)

4%

2%

3%

3%

3%

--

3%

3%

Don't know/hard to say

8%

7%

9%

7%

7%

--

8%

8%

* "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.
^ Calculated from 2 surveys conducted during the consultation period of "Green Paper on Constitutional Development" (i.e. from July 11 to October 10, 2007), the questions were introduced in September 2007. 
# Calculated from all 5 surveys conducted since September 2007. 

Our latest survey shows, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2017, 2022 and 2027, 58% would prefer implementing the selection of CE by universal suffrage in 2012, while 27% chose "2017". The percentages of people who opted for "2022", "2027" and "don't know/hard to say" are 4%, 4% and 8% correspondingly. Throughout the 5 previous surveys, on average 56% would prefer universal suffrage for CE in 2012. Regarding the return of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage, if only given the choices of years 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028, 64% would prefer implementing the selection of Legislative Councillors by universal suffrage in 2012, while 20% chose "2016". The percentages of people who opted for "2020", "2024", "2028" and "don't know/hard to say" are 4%, 2%, 3% and 7% correspondingly. Throughout the 5 previous surveys, on average 63% would prefer universal suffrage for Legislative Council election in 2012.

Finally, the survey asked for people's views, after the District Council elections, on the demand for universal suffrage as well as the winning odds of the Pan-democrats in the Legislative Council election next year, the results are as follows:

As the District Council elections just ended, has your demand for universal suffrage increased or decreased?

 

Increased

45%

Decreased

14%

No change

34%

Don't know/ hard to say

8%

Total

100%

Do you consider the results of the District Council elections would increase or decrease the winning odds of the Pan-democrats' in the Legislative Council election next year?

 

Increased

15%

Decreased

51%

No effect

10%

Don't know/ hard to say

24%

Total

100%


Survey findings showed that, after the District Council elections, 45% said the demand for universal suffrage has increased, while 14% said the demand has decreased and 34% believed it has not changed at all. Regarding the winning odds of the Pan-democrats in the Legislative Council election next year, findings showed that 51% said the results of the District Council elections have decreased their winning odds, while 15% said their odds have increased. Those who believed the District Council elections have "no effect" on their winning odds or those without any definite answer accounted for 10% and 24% of the total sample respectively.


Commentary

On the latest survey findings on political reform, Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "Our latest survey shows that people's support of pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 CE election is 58%, or 2 percentage-points up from that registered two weeks ago. People's support of pan-democrats' proposal on 2012 Legco election is 48%, up 1 percentage-points. During the consultation period, we conducted 6 surveys on people's support of these two proposals, and their average support rates are 57% and 49% respectively. Across all 12 surveys of our tracking series, their average support rates are 56% and 47% respectively. Since there are 12,186 successful random cases across these 12 surveys, these figures are of very high reference value. As for the timetable for universal suffrage, after the close of consultation on the ‘Green Paper on Constitutional Development', we began to use two simplified close-ended questions to gauge people's opinion, in order to facilitate people's understanding of the figures. In our latest survey, 58% said universal suffrage for CE should be implemented by 2012, while 64% said universal suffrage for Legco should be introduced by 2012. Both figures are 4 percentage-points higher than those registered two weeks ago. They are also very close to the average figures of all surveys. Finally, on current issues, although 45% said their demand for universal suffrage has increased after the recent District Council elections, which is simple majority view, more than half believe that the democrats' chance of winning next year's Legislative Council election has reduced. The relationship between democratic demands and election results is a subject worth studying."

 

| Background | Latest Figures | Commentary | Detailed Findings (Twelfth Public Opinion Survey on Political Reform) |