Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's public approval rating declined amid the controversial national education row, the latest University of Hong Kong poll has found.
But Lam is still the most popular minister in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration.
The decline came despite Lam displaying a rare emotional side during a televised interview last Friday, in which she made the government's case for the controversial introduction of national education in public schools.
The survey, which interviewed 1,005 Hongkongers, was conducted last week from September 3 to September 7 before the government's climbdown last Saturday on the national education issue. Leung scrapped the three-year deadline for compulsory implementation of the subject, which students, teachers and parents' groups protested against over 10 days, occupying the government offices at Admiralty, and staging hunger strikes and calling for students to boycott classes.
The poll showed that Lam - who admitted that becoming entangled in the education issue had damaged people's faith in her - received 58.1 marks, a fall by 3.9. Her popularity declined from 59 per cent early last month to 55 per cent, yet she had 64 per cent in July.
Despite the decline, she is still the most popular minister compared with Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, who got 54.3 and 49.1 marks in their support ratings respectively.
The popularity of their team leader Leung continued to fall to another record low of 46.5 points, while only some 33 per cent of respondents voiced their confidence in him.
Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man maintained his position as the best performing minister, receiving 69 per cent, placing him under the "ideal performer" category.
Education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim remains the most disliked, with 49 per cent saying they had no confidence in him, a rise of 1 percentage point. He remains in the "mediocre performer" category. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent.