Pro-China lineup loses support: poll

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 12:00am

The number of registered voters intending to vote for pro-China candidates in next month's district council elections has slipped to just 4 per cent, a survey has revealed.

With the elections less than one month away, a poll by the University of Hong Kong's Public Opinion Programme shows that Democrat and moderate or non-partisan candidates stand to garner six to seven times more votes than their pro-China opponents. Respondents were asked to choose between them.

Quality of life continues to figure highly, with 79 per cent indicating that a candidate's stand on such issues would be critical.

Also, the July 1 demonstration appeared to have encouraged people to vote, regardless of whether or not they took part in the march.

Voting intention has increased for 60 per cent of respondents who did march (about one-quarter), while for those who stayed away it has risen 27 per cent.

Sixty-three per cent of non-marchers said their voting intention was unchanged. Just 5 per cent said it had decreased as a result of the protest.

In contrast with the 11 per cent of the overall sample who said the political alignment of a candidate was a critical consideration for their vote, 26 per cent of July 1 participants said it was a key factor.

Programme director Robert Chung Ting-yiu said: 'The survey results clearly show that, although voters who joined the July 1 demonstration only constitute a small proportion of all registered voters, their intention to vote and their political demands are significantly higher than other voters.

'In constituencies where competition is keen, their votes can be decisive.'

At the same time, the level of awareness about the elections among the 1,017 people polled at the beginning of last week rose 41 percentage points, to 60 per cent from 19 per cent in mid-September.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa dropped from a rating of 45.5 points in the first week of this month to 44.1 last week.

However, satisfaction with the government's performance increased, from 14 per cent of respondents expressing satisfaction in mid-September to 17 per cent.