Older and less educated Hongkongers opt for Carrie Lam, while young and better educated choose John Tsang, survey finds

Poll commissioned by Post finds establishment backers want Lam, while Tsang attracts pan-democrats

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 8:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 10:56pm

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor tends to strike a chord with older and less educated people, while John Tsang Chun-wah, who resigned last month as financial secretary, is more popular among younger and more educated groups, a poll commissioned by the South China Morning Post shows.

Both are potential candidates in the chief executive race in March.

Of the 1,024 people interviewed, Lam is less popular among young people. Her support rate was 10.2 per cent among those aged 18 to 29 and 18.5 per cent for those aged 30 to 44. However, she enjoys greater support among the middle-aged and elderly, with 29.7 per cent of those aged between 45 and 49, and 29.7 per cent for people who are 60 or older.

In terms of education, Lam’s popularity slips as the education level rises. She garnered 27.7 per cent support from those with Primary Three level or below, 25.6 per cent among those educated from Form Four to Seven, and 16.3 per cent among those with tertiary education.

There was a similar pattern for another chief executive aspirant, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

Only 5 per cent of the group with tertiary education endorse the legislative councillor, who has pitched herself as a middle-class favourite, highlighting her masters degree from Stanford University in the United States.

Lam boasts 54.6 per cent support among those identifying themselves as pro-establishment and Ip 18.9 per cent.

Only 4.4 per cent in that camp backed John Tsang, who received support from 42.5 per cent of the 295 respondents identified as pan-democrats. In the localist camp – comprising 73 people – 34.9 per cent backed Tsang.

In the group that did not indicate their political stance, 26.9 per cent picked John Tsang and 21.9 per cent chose Lam.

Some 22 per cent of pan-democrats opted for another hopeful, former judge Woo Kwok-hing, as did 20.5 per cent of the localists.

Former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, who is seen as unlikely to run, has least support among most age and education groups. But he was still backed by 14 per cent of those with tertiary education, which is higher than for Ip and Woo.

As for issues that the next leader should tackle, most respondents pointed to solving the problem of housing affordability. Only localists listed tackling income inequality as the number one issue. Political reform came fourth among pan-democrats.

“The poll results show that Lam and Ip’s backers are of the same kind and they are more pro-establishment, while the other three potential candidates look like they’re backed by the pro-democracy camp, though they themselves may not be pro-democracy,” said Professor Francis Lee Lap-fung of the Chinese University’s Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey, which conducted the telephone survey.