Democrat support slipping, says poll

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 1998, 12:00am

Support for the Democratic Party candidates in three geographical constituencies in the May elections is slipping, according to a new survey.

The poll by the Social Sciences Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong says support for Democratic candidates in the Island and Kowloon East constituencies has dropped three percentage points, while Democrat support in the New Territories East constituency has slipped four percentage points.

Of the 325 voters contacted in the Island seat, 43 per cent said they would vote for the Democratic Party and its candidates led by Martin Lee Chu-ming.

Under proportional representation, the party would get the equivalent of 1.7 seats according to the percentage of votes. With 13.6 per cent support, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) would get 0.5 seats.

A quarter of respondents were don't knows. The pollsters said the Democrats needed to work harder to secure the second seat.

While the DAB has the best chance of winning a seat, it remains unclear if the last seat would go to Christine Loh Kung-wai of the Citizens Party, or the Liberal Party's Ada Wong Ying-kay.

In Kowloon East, one-third of respondents were still undecided, while 42 per cent said they would vote for the Democrats. Such a result translates into 1.3 seats.

The DAB ticket had 23.4 per cent of voters, equalling 0.7 seats. According to the pollsters, independent candidate Fok Pui-yee could affect both the Democrats and the DAB, but just how has yet to be properly assessed.

In the New Territories East constituency the contest remains more intense. Support for the Democrats has fallen from 25 per cent in March to 21 per cent this month, according to the new opinion poll.

The Frontier, which had 18 per cent support in the March survey, now has 19 per cent.

Both the Democrats and The Frontier are expected to win a seat each.

The poll also shows the electorate is growing increasingly volatile, as the number of 'swinging voters' rose from 31 per cent in March to 40 per cent this month.

Pollsters said voters had had second thoughts about their earlier preferences because of fierce campaigning by the seven candidate lists.

The poll was carried out between April 14 and 20. The previous poll was between March 10 and 13.