The chief executive election would end in stalemate if Hong Kong's young people were selecting the city's next leader, the result of a simulated vote released yesterday showed. None of the three candidates came close to winning 50 per cent of the 57,040 votes cast in the poll organised by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association and the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme. Leung Chun-ying led with 33.6 per cent of votes cast by 12- to 21-year-olds, followed by Albert Ho Chun-yan on 22.5 per cent and Henry Tang Ying-yen on 21.9 per cent. Some 16.5 per cent of voters cast blank ballots and 5.5 per cent of the ballots were ruled invalid. Votes were cast at secondary schools and association centres on Wednesday. Organisers and political scientists say the result shows Hongkongers do not have a clear preference on the city's next leader. In the real race for chief executive, the winning candidate must gain the support of 601 voters. There are 1,193 members of the Election Committee, and if two rounds of voting result in a stalemate on Sunday, the poll will be rerun at a later date. Amy Yeung Chun-lai, a social worker at the association, said the controversies surrounding Leung had little impact on young people's support, as 'they are too difficult to comprehend'. 'Tang's scandals [including the illegal basement under a home owned by his wife, and his admission of infidelity] are more close to daily lives, so they are more likely to affect young people's perception of him,' she said. 'But the youngsters may not be able to understand Leung's West Kowloon arts hub row, and the 'black gold' scandal' - a reference to links between politics and triad societies. Leung was accused of failing to disclose his company DTZ's business relationship with one of the contestants in the 2001 arts hub design competition, of which he was a judge. He also denied suggestions of triad links after members of his campaign team attended a dinner at which a controversial businessman was present. The association attributed an increase in support for Ho to his performance in two recent debates. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said: 'Only one-third of the young people voted for Leung even though he's in the lead. That's a very low rate.' Ho said the result showed the public were split on who should be the next leader, while the Leung and Tang camps said their candidates would continue to rally support. Meanwhile, a survey by the Federation of Education Workers found 27.3 per cent of 1,031 education workers interviewed favoured Leung, followed by Tang with 6.5 per cent and Ho with 3.5 per cent. Some 43 per cent had no preference and 17.8 per cent favoured another candidate.