Young people in change of heart

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 November, 2003, 12:00am

The number of young people planning to vote in the district council elections is falling, according to a survey released yesterday.

In the third study by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong to gauge young people's voting behaviour, 45.6 per cent of the 3,484 respondents aged between 18 and 25 interviewed last week said they planned to vote on Sunday.

In the association's first poll, which was conducted in the middle of last month, 58.2 per cent of respondents said they would vote, while 57 per cent expressed the same intention in the second poll released last week.

One of the survey organisers, Chan Kwok-bong, said incidents such as the controversy surrounding the Equal Opportunities Commission and university budget cuts might have affected young people's voting intentions.

The survey found that 38.4 per cent of respondents registered as voters after July 1, while 49.7 per cent of those attributed their registration to the march by 500,000 people against the government and the proposed national security legislation on July 1.

Only 4 per cent said speeding up democratic development was the main reason to vote in the elections, while 3.9 per cent - or 118 respondents said they would vote because they had been influenced by the July 1 march.

Ma Ngok, assistant professor of social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, attributed the fall in the number of young people who were willing to vote to the fact that they were easily influenced by social conditions.

'Their voting incentive was much higher shortly after July 1 as it was something that was always talked about, but now they may think that there is nothing worthy to vote on,' Professor Ma said.