Carrie Lam

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam at highest popularity since she was elected four months ago: poll

First HKU survey after July 1 change in administration shows her net approval rose 15 percentage points to 19 per cent

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 10:28pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 6:31am

Hong Kong’s new top official has received a favourable report card, with all but two ministers from the previous administration scoring positive marks in the first popularity survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong since July 1.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s popularity rating hit its highest level since she was elected the city’s chief executive in March.

Her popularity increased dramatically, by 11.5 marks, to 63.7 out of 100, as compared with two weeks ago. And her net approval rating – the difference between a vote of confidence or no confidence in an individual – rose 15 percentage points, to 19 per cent.

Hong Kong lawmakers turn out in force for first lunch gathering with new leader Carrie Lam

In April, Lam’s net approval rating was minus seven per cent, only weeks after she beat popular underdog John Tsang Chun-wah in the poll.

Her high results also stood in stark contrast with those of her predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, whose last net approval rating, in June, was negative 50 per cent.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah – both retained from Leung’s administration – were the only ministers in Lam’s cabinet to tally negative net approval ratings.

Chan’s rating increased by 11 percentage points from June, putting him at minus 19 per cent. Lau’s stood at minus 10 per cent, after surging 15 percentage points.

The study polled 832 Hongkongers between July 3 and 6, and came against the backdrop of Lam’s efforts to mend ties with the legislature.

Her efforts to undo several of Leung’s controversial policies have led some to argue she seeks to ditch accusations that she is “CY 2.0”, in a reference to her predecessor.

Hong Kong leader holds six-hour brainstorming session with new team and then posts rare selfie

Meanwhile, labour and welfare secretary, Dr Law Chi-kwong, the only newcomer and pan-democrat appointed to the cabinet, emerged as most popular mnister, with a net approval rating of 44 per cent.

He was followed by commerce and economic development chief Edward Yau Tang-wah, and food and health chief Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, whose net approval ratings were 41 per cent and 38 per cent.

Education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung outperformed his predecessor, Eddie Ng Hak-kim, the most unpopular minister in Leung’s cabinet. Yeung’s net approval rating was 21 per cent, while Ng’s was minus 51 per cent.

Edward Tai, of HKU’s public opinion programme, said while no one from the cabinet reached the category of “ideal” performer, the results for Lam and Law could be deemed “successful”.