Leung Chun-ying's popularity in his first year as chief executive has lagged far behind that of his predecessor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, according to an analysis by the Democratic Party.
It compared tracking polls carried out by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme over the two leaders' so-called honeymoon period.
Tsang took the helm in July 2007 and his support rating was 72.3 on a scale of zero to 100. This compared with 52.5 Leung got when he became the new chief executive. It was also Leung's highest score in the past 12 months.
Tsang's rating fell to 67.2 at the end of his first year, while Leung's support rating slid to 46.7 this month.
City University political scientist Dr James Sung Lap-kung said Tsang had an edge over Leung because he had served in the government for a long time. "Compared with Mr Tsang, who is a career civil servant, Mr Leung is not familiar with the operations of the government and the policy-making process, thus, making it more difficult for him to push forward his policies," said Sung.
"The pan-democrats were more friendly to Mr Tsang too," added Sung, "We didn't hear the opposition camp calling Mr Tsang a communist and demand he step down even before he assumed office."
In his cabinet, only two of the new ministers - Secretary for Food and Welfare Dr Ko Wing-man and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen - had higher approval ratings than their predecessors over the first 12 months in office.
Dr York Chow Yat-ngok was the health minister and Stephen Lam Sui-lung was the constitution minister under Tsang.
Professor Chan Ka-keung has served both as Tsang's and Leung's secretary for financial services and the treasury. His approval ratings for the past year were also higher than those for his first year in office in 2007.
Tsang was made the chief executive in 2005, succeeding the unpopular Tung Chee-hwa, who quit citing health reasons. But Tsang inherited Tung's ministers and it was not until July 2007 that he appointed his own ministers when elected to take up the top post for another five years. Leung assumed office last July.
Democratic Party legislator Helena Wong Pik-wan said: "The crux of the problem, we believe, is that we have an unpopular chief executive who is not directly elected and naturally, will not be able to attract competent people to serve on his government."