More Hongkongers now want legislators to approve the government's electoral reforms next year than before the start of the Occupy Central civil disobedience action for democracy, a university poll has found. The Chinese University survey findings raise questions about whether the 79-day Occupy protests have backfired in terms of public support. The university interviewed 1,011 people from December 8 to 12 - the last day coinciding with the police's clearance of the Occupy base camp in Admiralty. In the poll, 38 per cent said the Legislative Council should endorse the government's reform package even if it followed Beijing's restrictive framework. That was nine percentage points higher than in a survey before the protests began on September 28. Support for lawmakers to vote down the framework fell 10 percentage points to 43 per cent. Pan-democratic lawmakers have vowed to veto the government's reform framework if it follows Beijing's rules to deprive Hongkongers of a free choice of candidates in the 2017 chief executive election. Student leaders and co-organisers of Occupy back the pan-democratic stance. Professor Francis Lee Lap-fung, one of the pollsters with the university's school of journalism and communication, believes the changes in sentiment could, ironically, have resulted from political discussion encouraged by the Occupy movement. "Hong Kong residents gained an understanding of the issue," Lee said yesterday. "Maybe they have some ideas about the movement, and now have second thoughts about whether the package should be supported." Lee said poll respondents who identified themselves as having moderate political views - in between the pro-establishment and pan-democratic positions - or no orientation at all drove the shift in sentiment. Within those two groups, 38 and 25 per cent wanted the government's reforms vetoed, respectively - 14 and 17 percentage points lower than in September. Three-quarters of those who aligned themselves with the pan-democratic camp opposed the package - three percentage points higher than previously. About 51 per cent were dissatisfied with how the government handled the protests, and 53 per cent believed it should have made concessions to solve the political impasse. Labour Party chairman and lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan conceded the findings showed public support for Occupy had declined, but said his pan-democratic camp remained determined to veto the package. "Public support will rebound when the government starts the second stage of public consultation [next month] and when we approach different communities to tell people about it," he said. Occupy Central co-founder Dr Chan Kin-man said that while he noted some people had changed their view, overall there was still a bigger proportion of people in favour of a veto. "The results show that Occupy became more unpopular towards the end due to the traffic jams," Chan said. "But I believe that ... people will forget these small inconveniences and will still be fighting for democracy."