HONG Kong wants Governor Chris Patten to put building bridges with Beijing at the top of the agenda in his policy address this week. A Sunday Morning Post poll found 50 per cent believe better relations with China should be one of Mr Patten's top three priorities when he addresses the Legislative Council on Wednesday, while only 21 per cent mentioned democracy. The airport, education, social welfare and health were also seen as more important priorities than democracy. However, democracy still came out ahead of retirement protection, transport, inflation, corruption, the environment, and law and order. The survey also revealed extensive apathy towards Wednesday's address - although a sizeable number claim they will tune into the live television and radio coverage of it - coupled with a belief Mr Patten has lost some of his influence, and now counts forless than China's top official on Hong Kong affairs, Lu Ping. Forty-two per cent of those surveyed said Mr Lu had the most influence over local affairs, compared with 38 per cent who chose Mr Patten in the Hong Kong Polling and Business Research (PBR) poll of 439 people on September 29. The response rate was 60 percent. PBR managing director Citi Hung Ching-tin said the results were bad news for the Governor ahead of his policy address. ''He's becoming irrelevant, a lame duck in his own way,'' said Mr Hung. ''However, he still has enough time left to try and rectify the situation.'' But Liberal Party leader Allen Lee Peng-fei was not surprised at the result, and predicted future polls would show an even more pronounced trend: ''Perhaps more people will choose Mr Lu if this question is asked again next year.'' Thirty-two per cent said Mr Patten had become less influential since his last policy address, although 41 per cent detected no change, and 19 per cent believed he had grown in influence. Twenty-eight per cent thought Mr Patten had become a worse Governor over the past year, although 13 per cent believed he had improved, and 52 per cent detected no change. However, there was still more interest in Mr Patten's actions and opinions than those of Mr Lu. The survey also found that, whether justified or not, Mr Patten has been unable to shake off the tag of being a ''one-issue Governor'', with 53 per cent saying he spends too much time talking about political reform, while 37 per cent disagreed, with 10 per cent unsure. There was widespread apathy towards the policy address, with 53 per cent saying they had little or no interest in what Mr Patten will say on Wednesday, while 33 per cent expressed some interest, and only six per cent expressed a high degree of interest. But 47 per cent said they would tune in to the live broadcasts of the policy address, with a further 29 per cent considering doing so. Only 24 per cent said they would definitely not do so. However, Mr Hung cautioned this sort of finding invariably over-represented the numbers who will actually tune in, and should be discounted by 40-60 per cent. United Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong said the results reflected a popular belief that Mr Patten was too political a Governor. ''It is very natural that people want better relations with China and a solution to the airport problem, as they have been the controversial subjects for a long time. People want the Governor to sort them out as soon as possible,'' he said. Thirty-two per cent said the airport should be one of Mr Patten's top three priorities in the policy address, while a similar number suggested social welfare. Twenty-seven per cent saw both education and health as priorities. Retirement protection, transport and inflation were all seen as high priorities by 20 per cent of those surveyed, while 16 per cent suggested corruption. Thirteen per cent nominated the environment, and a similar number chose law and order. When asked whose actions and opinions they were most interested in, 44 per cent chose Mr Patten, 30 per cent suggested Mr Lu, and 10 per cent nominated Mr Li. Four per cent selected actress Veronica Yip Yuk-hing.