Tung Chee-hwa's tenure as Chief Executive is having some contradictory effects on the public. Although many people believe he has done a reasonable job in office, only 18 per cent contend he deserves another five-year term. And 52 per cent have decided - two years before this term ends - that they do not want him to have a second one. Beyond that, 75 per cent have concluded they do not want anyone to be appointed the next time around. They want direct elections instead. These are among key findings in the latest opinion survey by the Baptist University's Hong Kong Transition Project, which regularly takes the public pulse. It found an electorate that often feels so alienated from the centre of power that it remembers the colonial administration as being more sensitive to its concerns. Yet, the degree of satisfaction over how a number of issues have been handled is impressively high. Even the stock market intervention receives a 45 per cent positive rating, despite the controversy it caused at the time. And despite the rows which ensued, the Government's performance in protecting judicial independence and the rule of law scored 46 per cent. The project head, Michael DeGolyer, suggests that if international politicians received ratings like these, their electoral chances would be sky-high. So what explains this? Many things. Most notably, a politically-astute society too often feels deprived of a voice in running the city. And it senses a Government which often fails to lead, one headed by a Chief Executive sometimes out of touch with public opinion - more influenced by Beijing and tycoons than by his own legislature or top civil servants. There has been a marked change in attitude since reunification. The Basic Law is seen to be working well, and the mainland is perceived as having adhered to 'one country, two systems'. In fact, Beijing's leaders score higher marks than Mr Tung. And while his cardinal fault is seen as taking more notice of Beijing than his own people, paradoxically perhaps, no blame is attached to the central Government for that. Reunification has fired a sense of cultural identity, and increased people's aspirations for their home city. They want a greater say in their destiny, even if only by having leaders appear to hear their concerns. Pollution tops that list. Thus the Government's disapproval rating could rise markedly if measures to improve air and water quality do not appear effective. And despite a resurgent economy, the survey gives no indication that growing confidence in the future will benefit top officials. This is a stable society, but it is surprisingly disaffected and that condition may well continue unless faults are corrected.