Pro-Beijing paper attacks institute over Tung poll

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2002, 12:00am

A pro-Beijing newspaper yesterday condemned the Chinese University's Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies latest polls on the popularity ratings of Tung Chee-hwa and his new team as 'irresponsible'.

In its editorial, the Ta Kung Pao said the polling work conducted by the institute was disappointing and cast serious doubts on the polling methodology and conclusions.

The institute released a survey on Wednesday, which showed the approval rating of Mr Tung had fallen to a post-handover low of 48.9 on a scale of 100 this month. The poll also found that public dissatisfaction with the government rose sharply in the first month after the new ministerial team was put in place.

'The accountability system has only been introduced for 20 odd days . . . How can [the institute] treat [the new political appointees] like pop-singers and give them scores by merely relying on their names, looks, impressions or even a few remarks?,' Ta Kung Pao said.

It said it was irresponsible for the institute to conclude that the popularity ratings of the chief executive, the SAR government and some principal officials had all fallen.

Timothy Wong Ka-ying, who was in charge of the poll, said: 'It's not the first time I have conducted such a poll. This was the 60th time. Why hasn't anyone cast doubts on the previous 59 polls? Those with any grasp of professional polling will think such criticisms are meaningless.'

Asked whether the editorial had put him under pressure, he said: 'As a pollster, we have to report on the polling results be they good or bad.'

Lau Siu-kai, head of the Central Policy Unit and former director of the institute, said: 'I feel that pollsters' views are suspectible to disagreement. I see it [Ta Kung Pao's editorial] as a matter of intellectual debate.'

In January 2000, the pro-Beijing Mirror magazine attacked Hong Kong University pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu's exit polls. The then vice-chancellor Professor Cheng Yiu-chung sent copies of the article to his senior management team and other staff, including Dr Chung, for 'information and comments'.