Public dissatisfaction with the political situation in Hong Kong has surged since December even though people have become more satisfied with the economy, a survey by the University of Hong Kong has found. Dissatisfaction with political conditions rose 8 percentage points in the latest poll to 54 per cent since the December survey. The number of those who said they were most concerned with political problems also rose by 4 percentage points to 10 per cent. But 64 per cent said that economic problems ranked top among their concerns. However, dissatisfaction with the current economic situation fell 19 percentage points to just 43 per cent - the biggest drop in the past 12 months - as Hong Kong's economy continued to improve. Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the university's Public Opinion Programme, said disputes over constitutional reform had a major effect on dissatisfaction with politics. He also believes that recent remarks by 'hardliners' in the pro-Beijing camp had dampened hopes for a speedy move toward full democracy. He said although the public was more concerned with their economic well-being, demand for democracy would rise as society became more affluent. Between March 6 and March 9, 1,030 respondents were interviewed for the survey.