A government survey claiming to show majority support for its constitutional reform proposals was challenged by a prominent pollster yesterday. The findings could have been very different had different questions been used, said Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme. Dr Chung referred to one of the questions, which asked 'there are views in the community that the number of Election Committee members be increased to 1,600. Do you agree to this proposal?' Sixty-one per cent agreed, while 30 per cent disagreed, according to the findings. Dr Chung said the question was testing respondents' acceptance of 'preconceived concepts and suggestions'. He believed the result would have been different had respondents been asked separately how many members they thought the committee should have. 'I am not trying to accuse the government of manipulating the findings. But opinion polls have their limitations,' he wrote on the programme's website. He said the survey failed to compare the level of support for alternative proposals. The academic was more critical of Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan's claim that there were still divergent views on a timetable for universal suffrage. He said Mr Hui had used survey findings to show the reform proposals had majority public support but had apparently made reference to other sources to support rejecting a timetable. A spokesman for the constitutional development taskforce said best endeavours had been made to ensure that the opinion poll was conducted objectively.