• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 12:33pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 4:07am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 6:33am

So what is Occupy's poll really saying?

One of our headlines yesterday read: "The people have spoken". But what exactly is the message?

That refers to the 787,767 votes cast in Occupy Central's mock referendum. The exercise has achieved a phenomenal level of participation. But does it make sense to interpret it as a de facto referendum? In a real referendum, there would have been other voting options besides the three offered, all of which featured public nomination of chief executive candidates.

The pan-democrats have condemned Beijing and the Hong Kong government for refusing to consider public nomination. Occupy Central offered a "referendum" with no alternatives. So, minus the 8.9 per cent who abstained, can we take it that more than 700,000 voters support public nomination? And could they be considered representative of the city's 3.5 million electors?

The answer is certainly no to both questions, because they were offered no other choices. First, we can't assume Occupy voters would show the same preferences in a real referendum. Second, the demographics of the voters would be interesting to study. It's possible the Occupy exercise attracted disproportionately younger voters whereas in a real poll you would have a more even age distribution with other voting preferences.

But regardless, the more than 700,000 Occupy voters are a self-selecting group that on average, would certainly take a more confrontational stance than the rest of the electorate. This could explain why an overwhelming 88 per cent of Occupy voters say lawmakers should veto any reform package that does not meet international standards by pre-screening candidates. This result contradicts two random-sample surveys conducted by Hong Kong University and Lingnan University in June, both of which found more than one in two Hongkongers want "one person one vote" even if there is pre-screening.

Occupy organisers said Beijing's white paper and the fight in Legco over funding for northeast New Territories new towns helped prompt the high turnout. So they tacitly agree the votes are not necessarily an endorsement of Occupy Central or pubic nomination, but a massive display of public anger and discontent - no different from a high turnout for the June 4 vigil and July 1 march.

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John Adams
A very good analysis Mr Lo, and I agree with you.
I deliberately did not vote in the "referendum" because I disagreed with all the selection and voting choices offered.
But the "referendum" did not allow me the option to vote for the pre-selection model..
Very silly really really, to go to all the effort of the "referendum" and then exclude other more conservative models.
.
I bet there were at least another 780,000 people who would have voted if the "referendum" had included the models proposed by the SAR and BJ governments : maybe even 1.5 million. So what message would that have sent to the vocal minority who favor civil disobedience ? We shall never know because the whole "referendum" was completely undemocratic and biased . Ironic really when you think about it.
.
It all goes to show that many if not most of the pro-dems don't really have a clue as what democracy is all about, so it's a good thing that probably none of them will ever get selected to stand for CE, and the majority of them will soon be voted out of LEGCO.
.
A truly democratic system prevents the silent ( or on this case : deliberately silenced ) majority from being taken captive by the small but vocal minority , who often turn despotic if ever elected to power.
.
So you won't see me at occupy central
anthonygmail
The whole referendum is flawed and un-democratic. Ironic isn't it?
ppihk
The turn out was shockingly large. It's a bit like an iceberg. The ones voicing their opinions are the small part showing above the water. If you don't see the full iceberg, than you will sink this HK ship. Time to turn course.
timliu01@hotmail.com
Looking at the number of votes:
20/6 (12 hours) ...... 400K
21/6 (24 hours) ...... 200K
22/6 (24 hours) ...... 100K
23 - 29/6 (7 days) ... <100K
Given the time, the persuasion, the convenience of the voting method and the catalytic effect of the White Paper, there are still more than 80% of the eligible voters preferred not to vote, indicating that they are not interested in the matter or they are against it.
The result is not really that convincing.
asiaseen
" but a massive display of public anger and discontent"
That, Mr Lo, is the whole point. You could have spared us the rest of your superficial assumptions.
nmp_inc
Weak commentary. There were options and the most undemocratic were rejected in the first round. That nearly 800,000 voted for one of the three options also throws water on your implicit and explicit positions that the choices/poll were not representative enough.
Standing up for one's rights and expecting what was promised - real democratic choice - is not confrontational. Your position, conversely, would definitely seem collaborationist. What the people are seem to be saying is they want no more of politic as usual, i.e., patriots ruling Hong Kong.
Equally weak (and pitiful) United Front-like effort to denigrate the vote by characterizing it as no different than "high turnout for the June 4 vigil and July 1 march"; just the type of Beijing-first tone deaf and clueless analysis of the Hong Kong situation that has brought it to the brink.
ppihk
Than be brave enough to support real democracy. If the silent majority is so strong as you say, they would never let a radical get elected.
You fear the truth...
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
"There were options and the most undemocratic were rejected in the first round"
I hope you do realize that options which were rejected are no longer options. So typical of pan-dems. Design a poll which only caters for themselves and when they get 700,000 (not 800,000) out of 3.5 mils of potential votes, they now pretend to represent all HKers. This is worse than the communist regime. And the funniest part is they call this democracy.
ppihk
Boring! You've got nothing interesting to say.
whymak
Mr. Lo,
How many who voted on the referendum used faked ID numbers (no computer hashing algorithm verification), are non-registered voters, even worse, who hijacked ID numbers from siblings and grannies in the same household to boost the vote count?
I told my European (Swiss and French) and North American relatives and friends about this "unique" expression of democracy. They chuckled but didn't want to offend my sensitivities by criticizing HKers' sense of low self-esteem -- at least this is what's perceived. Yes, they couldn't understand why HKers reject our wonderful Chinese culture. Yes, one expressed shock by this delusional, bizarre exercise of democracy. Haven't sampled opinions from Australia yet. But I think they are likely similar.
Sooner or later, we will be the laughing stock not just of the mainland, but the educated citizens of the developed world too.

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