Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's net approval rating with Hongkongers has hit a record low, a survey shows. It also found that satisfaction with the government was at a 12-month low.
The poll was conducted in the middle of the month, during which two "significant events" played out - the Edward Snowden saga and Leung's criticism of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement.
Pollsters of the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme declined to suggest any reasons behind the popularity drop.
"Readers can make their own judgments on whether these significant events have any impact on the various polling figures," programme director Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said yesterday.
Separately, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang warned that she believed the current No 2 in the government, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, might resign if Leung continued to neglect her.
"Based on some of Lam's public comments, I sensed that … before [some initiatives were] rolled out, the chief secretary did not have a chance to voice her opinions or suggestions [to Leung]," Chan said. "Lam is handling a very tough job, but because she is very committed to Hong Kong and very passionate about her work, she will stay on until the day when she feels she is no longer valued or sees something unacceptable to her."
In the June 13-19 poll, only 27 per cent of the 1,040 interviewees backed Leung as chief executive, versus 55 per cent who cast a vote of no confidence, HKU found.
The result was a net approval rating of minus 28 percentage points, four percentage points lower than the last survey, held early this month, and the lowest since Leung took office.
Only a fifth of the respondents were satisfied with the government, while 51 per cent were not.
The survey was held amid debate about Leung's June 13 interview with Bloomberg television in the US. He declined to "comment on individual cases" seven times when asked about Snowden's stay in the city.
The maximum sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.