Majority of Hongkongers think Carrie Lam will do better job than predecessor, poll finds

University survey finds most were not happy with the election process, especially younger respondents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 10:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 10:49am

The majority of Hong Kong residents believe chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will do a better job than her unpopular predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, a university opinion poll has found.

University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme, which interviewed 1,002 local residents last week, found 55 per cent of respondents thought Lam would do a better job. Twenty-four per cent thought her performance would be “more or less the same”, while 11 per cent thought she would do worse than Leung.

Lam’s popularity rating stood at 55.6 points on a scale of 0-100, according to the poll – 4.1 points higher than Leung five years ago.

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Among the respondents, 42.6 per cent supported Lam as chief executive, while 50.4 per cent opposed her. This gave her a net approval rate of minus 7.8 percentage points.

The majority of respondents aged between 18 and 49 opposed Lam as chief executive, with the ratio of opponents reaching 79 per cent among those aged 18 to 29. For those aged 50 or above, 54 per cent backed Lam as chief executive.

In March 2012, before he became chief executive, Leung’s net approval rate was minus 13 percentage points.

Shortly before the chief executive election on March 26, the Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily newspaper commissioned HKU to conduct a poll on Lam and her two rivals, John Tsang Chun-wah and Woo Kwok-hing. At the time, Lam’s net approval rate was minus 7.5 percentage points.

Asked who they would choose if they could vote, 53 per cent of respondents told HKU last month they supported Tsang, 32 per cent backed Lam, while 10 per cent favoured Woo.

In the latest poll, which was not commissioned by any organisation, respondents were asked their views on the chief executive election process. A total of 36 per cent were satisfied, 50 per cent were not and 10 per cent opted for “half-half”.

Among those aged between 16 and 29, 76 per cent were dissatisfied with the election.

Five years ago, 59 per cent of respondents told HKU pollsters they were dissatisfied with the election process.

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The leadership race has been repeatedly criticised for not being representative of Hongkongers’ views, as only the 1,194-member Election Committee is allowed to vote. Most of the committee members are regarded as being Beijing-friendly.

Shortly before Lam resigned as the city’s chief secretary in January, her popularity rating fell to an all-time low of 51.1 points, according to HKU pollsters.

In a televised debate on March 14, Tsang mocked Lam for her negative approval ratings. Lam argued that different surveys had produced varying results and said the popularity ratings of many politicians dropped after he or she won an election or took office.