Poll finds only a third of Hongkongers understand they can vote for 'super seats'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 3:47am

Only a third of Hongkongers realise they have a vote in the new "super seats" in next month's Legislative Council election, a survey has found.

Pundits warned that a lack of government publicity could affect the result of the election for the five super seats, in which 3.2 million voters who do not hold a vote in any other functional constituency are eligible to cast ballots.

The results of a poll by the University of Hong Kong, carried out a month before the September 9 election, were released yesterday. Some 52 per cent of the 1,000 respondents were unsure of their voter registration status - whether they could vote for super-seat candidates or whether they were registered to vote at all.

Just 34 per cent said they fully understood that they were registered to vote for the super seats in the functional constituency for district councils. Two individuals and five slates of candidates are contesting the seats.

"The super seats this year are especially important, and it is a new system," said Dr James Sung Lap-kung, a political analyst at City University. "If voters do not understand their meaning, or even existence, the election result may not properly reflect the voice of the people."

The survey also found that the number of voters willing to adopt a split-voting strategy - in which a household splits its votes between different slates in the hope that more candidates from its preferred camp are elected - had declined.

Just 15 per cent said they would split their votes, down from 20 per cent four years ago. Politicians have used split-voting tactics with success in the past.