By-elections bill stokes public anger, poll finds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2011, 12:00am


The city's level of anger has risen, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong, fuelled by events such as the government's controversial proposal to scrap by-elections for the Legislative Council.

More than 1,000 people were interviewed from June 27 to July 5 for the survey, which found that 31 per cent of respondents felt 'angry', 4 per cent up on the previous poll early last month and the highest yet recorded in the public opinion programme. The poll has a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent.

The findings came after the latest July 1 march, which drew the biggest turnout since 2004 - organisers put the attendance at 218,000, while police put the figure at 54,000.

Three days after the march, the government announced it would delay the vote and hold a public consultation on the proposal which had already been amended following suggestions from Beijing's liaison office.

Soaring property prices and housing issues remain among the contentious issues, with 12 per cent of interviewees saying that was the reason for their anger.

Anger over the illegal structures problem has dropped 5 per cent, standing at just 4 per cent.

Asked to indicate their level of anger, respondents on average put it at 52.2 points, up from 49.7 in the previous poll and 47.7 in the first poll in January. Those who felt their anger 'reaching a critical point at which a protest is called for', put this at 76 points, up from 73.5 previously.

Poll director Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said the findings should be a cause for concern. 'The various figures all reached new heights. Other than the controversial proposal to scrap by-elections, livelihood issues including housing, financial budget and inflation are still the focus of citizens' anger.'