The number of people who believe the government's electoral reform proposal should be vetoed if there is no clear road map to universal suffrage has hit a new high, according to a Chinese University survey.
Some 52.9 per cent of the respondents took this view, up 11.2 percentage points since a similar survey in January. The proportion opposed to Legco vetoing the measures dropped from 43.8 per cent to 36.2 per cent in the same period.
The proportion who believe Legco should approve the measures has fallen from 51.2 per cent to 46.9 per cent, while the proportion who say it should not do so has risen from 29.4 per cent to 41.9 per cent.
Fifty-eight per cent supported a proposal by moderate democrats that everyone be allowed a vote on five extra seats the government proposes creating in Legco's district councils functional constituency. Currently, only district councillors can vote in the constituency.
The poll has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.07 per cent.
Pollsters at the University of Hong Kong and Baptist University have recorded similar findings in recent surveys. They show the gap has narrowed between those in favour of passing the government proposals and those who say they should be vetoed.
With a week to go until the Legislative Council votes on the proposals, the government has launched new TV commercials featuring Donald Tsang Yam-kuen surrounded by protesters during a recent district walk-about - a reference to the obstacles to democratic progress.
The government needs at least three pan-democrats to vote for its proposals to avoid a veto. One of those seen as most likely to vote with the administration's supporters is Frederick Fung Kin-kee, the lone lawmaker representing the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.
Yesterday he reiterated his opposition to the government's proposals in their current form. Fung said he would not vote for them unless the government made a solemn pledge to abolish appointed seats on district councils and the proposals were amended to include more steps towards universal suffrage.
Fung said directly electing the five new district councils functional constituency lawmakers, as the Alliance for Universal Suffrage and the Democratic Party have proposed, would meet his demand for a 'clearer direction towards universal suffrage'.
Fung, a member of the alliance, said talks with the Hong Kong and central governments about possible compromises to satisfy the moderates' demands were 'not yet dead'.
Looking ahead, Fung suggested the National People's Congress Standing Committee form a special committee on universal suffrage with officials of both governments, lawmakers and pan-democrats.
Support for the government's reform proposals in Chinese University polls
Do not support: 41.9%
Do not support: 29.4%