Public confidence in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has hit a new low 10 months into his tenure, a university poll has found.
Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said they would vote for Leung if a chief executive election were held tomorrow, while 54 per cent said they would not.
The figures were the lowest and the highest, respectively, the University of Hong Kong public opinion programme has recorded in regular surveys since Leung assumed office in July last year.
The survey, in which more than 1,017 people were interviewed in early May, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent.
The poll also found Leung's popularity rating had fallen slightly, to 49 points, versus 49.9 points recorded in late April. It was the second consecutive poll putting Leung's rating under the 50 point "passing" score.
Programme director Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said Leung's popularity had "significantly dropped".
Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said the administration had been undergoing a chaotic period in recent weeks and Leung had failed to show he was determined to revive public confidence in his abilities. "From the HK$100 million donation to quake victims in Sichuan to the dock workers' strike, the government does not seem to be capable of handling crisis," Choy said. "Public confidence in Leung is already weak and public discontent rests on a hair-trigger."
The survey, meanwhile, found that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor remained the most popular of the three top officials, scoring 60.7 points.
She was followed by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, with 53.8 points, and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, at 50.7 points.
Food and Health chief Dr Ko Wing-man's support rating, at 79 per cent, was the highest among the secretaries. Education chief Eddie Ng Hak-kim rated the lowest, at 17 per cent.