Dissatisfaction with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's second policy address has soared in the days since he delivered it last week, new poll results show.
Just 23 per cent of Hongkongers are satisfied with the policy address despite the announcement that more than HK$10 billion will go towards new measures to help the poor, a University of Hong Kong survey showed.
More than two-thirds of the 519 respondents said Leung did too little to help the middle class.
The public's dissatisfaction rate with the address rose 10 percentage points, from 31 per cent in an instant survey on the day of the address to 41 per cent in follow-up polls conducted over the next two days.
The net satisfaction rate - the difference between the two - also dropped 23 percentage points, from a positive 5 per cent in the instant study to minus 18 per cent in the follow-up.
Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of HKU's public opinion programme, said the appraisal had changed from positive to negative because most of the respondents who did not express an opinion at first now held a negative view of the address.
While there was 62 per cent support for the new allowance for the working poor, 70 per cent agreed that Leung was not doing enough to help the middle class, with only 15 per cent disagreeing.
Leung's proposal to develop a business "metropolis" on an artificial island off Lantau drew just 48 per cent support, with 35 per cent opposing it.
The follow-up polls recorded an average mark of 48.1 out of 100 for the blueprint, six points lower than the instant survey. The margin of error for the study was plus or minus 4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the chief executive has brushed off rumours that Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah - who has warned that Hong Kong will run out of money if its lavish spending continues - was at odds with his financial philosophy.
The administration would strive to achieve a fiscal balance, Leung said.
Separately, a commentary published in the People's Daily overseas edition said Hong Kong should not simply follow the practice of the Macau government of giving cash handouts to its citizens.
"Macau [can give] handouts because of its continuous rapid economic growth … thanks to the windfall from gambling revenue and the utilisation of the supportive measures given by the central government," it said.
"But Hong Kong has been plagued by endless political wrangling in recent years, which has led to a drop in its competitiveness."
The commentary suggested that Hong Kong learn from Macau by getting rid of political disputes.