Anson Chan

Ip narrows the gap on Chan in the race to secure Island seat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am


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Popularity ratings between Legco by-election candidate Anson Chan Fang On-sang and her main rival Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee have narrowed to a single-digit difference after the district council elections on Sunday, a survey has found.

Of the respondents who intended to vote in the by-election for the Hong Kong Island seat in the Legislative Council scheduled for December 2, 35.8 per cent said they would vote for Mrs Chan, compared with 26.6 per cent who supported Mrs Ip, according to the survey carried out by the public governance programme of Lingnan University on Tuesday.

It represented increases of 3.3 percentage points and 4.4 percentage points for the two frontrunners, respectively, compared with a similar survey conducted last Friday.

A total of 74 per cent of 646 respondents interviewed by the public governance programme said they would definitely cast ballots in the by-election, compared with 12.4 per cent who said they would not.

Another 13.2 per cent said they had not yet decided.

It was the third survey conducted by the university since last Tuesday.

But the gap in support between the two former senior officials has narrowed from 13.2 percentage points in the first survey last Tuesday to 9.2 percentage points in the latest poll.

In the latest poll, the ratings for the other candidates, including conservation activist Ho Loy and barrister Lee Wing-kin were all below 0.5 per cent.

Programme director Li Pang-kwong predicted a further narrowing trend of popular support between the two leading candidates in the light of keen competition.

The proportion of voters who have not made up their minds dropped from 27.4 per cent in last Friday's poll to 25.7 per cent this week.

Speaking after taking part in a single-parent function, where she conceded she was financially independent and more fortunate than single parents who had been abused, Mrs Ip said she was preparing for the key televised debate with Mrs Chan and other candidates on Sunday.

She said her pro-government allies' election victory on Sunday might benefit Mrs Chan, because voters might decide to side with the pan-democrats to balance their defeat in the district polls.

Flanked by dozens of pan-democrats in a rally, Mrs Chan said she was greatly encouraged by public support during her months of campaigning, saying it strengthened her determination to push for the introduction of universal suffrage.

On the victory scored by Beijing loyalists in the district council elections, Mrs Chan said the results clearly showed how government allies could muster strong support to canvass more votes.