Leader's popularity hits a new low of 35pc

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2003, 12:00am

Tung Chee-hwa's popularity rating dropped to an all-time low of 35 per cent after the July 1 demonstration, a poll by the University of Hong Kong revealed yesterday.

The poll, conducted by the university's Public Opinion Programme between last Wednesday and Friday, saw the chief executive's popularity drop sharply from 43.7 per cent in mid-June.

A second poll on Saturday showed the figure improving only marginally, to 35.4, after the three amendments to the Article 23 laws were announced.

Robert Chung Ting-yiu, head of the programme, said anything under 45 would mean a crisis of governance in any democratic country.

Asked if they would vote for Mr Tung if they had the right to vote, 71 per cent of the more than 1,000 Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong citizens aged 18 or above said no. Only 13 per cent said they would.

Sixty-five per cent said they were dissatisfied with the government while 9 per cent were satisfied. Sixty-seven per cent believed the protestors on July 1 were marching for a change in leadership.

Dr Chung said the 35 marks given to Mr Tung represented 'a very serious problem' and such figures played a very important part in the government's claim to legitimacy in western democracies.

'After July 1, public perception of government and society has changed a lot and they are demanding something better,' Dr Chung said. 'We hear a lot of legislators and government officials saying they are waiting for public opinion to make their decisions, but they have made no moves to consult or conduct a poll like we have - it is not that difficult a job.'

Think-tank Civic Exchange, which commissioned the survey, said the lack of an improvement after the concessions were made showed most people viewed them as 'a face-saving move and capitulation under compulsion' rather than a genuine change of heart.