As few as one in four eligible voters may turn out for the Legislative Council by-elections, say pollsters who have been tracking attitudes to the government's electoral reform proposals and the May polls, which supporters see as a de facto referendum on democratisation. Of 1,012 people questioned for a poll conducted last week for Now TV by the University of Hong Kong' public opinion programme, 51 per cent said they planned to vote on May 16, while 39 per cent said they would not. It is the first time pollsters have asked the question of voters in the five geographical constituencies. Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, who is in charge of the programme, said: 'That some 51 per cent of people said they would vote [in the by-elections] seems to show a strong desire to vote. But, based on results of similar polls in the past, it is actually a low level.' According to past experience, Dr Chung said, only some half or two-thirds of those who said in polls that they would vote actually cast their ballots. Thus the turnout could be as low as 25 per cent, he said. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents opposed the decision of five legislators from the Civic Party and League of Social Democrats to quit their seats, thereby triggering the by-elections. Only 26 per cent supported the move. 'This shows that although some people do not support the de facto referendum, they will still vote in the by-elections,' Chung said. Organisers of the so-called de facto referendum have renewed their call for all pan-democrats to get their supporters out to vote. Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said all pan-democrats had the same objective and a strong turnout would give them more bargaining power. The Alliance for Universal Suffrage, formed by the Democratic Party and other moderate groups, says its will not ask its supporters to turn out and will continue to seek dialogue with Beijing on democracy.