22 February 2019
Carrie Lam says the government never underestimated the difficulty of selling the electoral proposal. Photo: HKEJ
Carrie Lam says the government never underestimated the difficulty of selling the electoral proposal. Photo: HKEJ

Less than half in poll on reform plan now say ‘pocket it first’

Less than half of Hongkongers polled on Beijing’s framework for the 2017 election for chief executive now support the idea of “pocketing it first”, Apple Daily reported Monday.

The Lingnan University survey was the first of its kind done since the Occupy movement ended in December.

The ratio fell below 50 percent for the time since the survey, commissioned by a group of businesspeople and academics called the Concern Group on Public Opinions on Constitutional Development, was first conducted.

Of the more than 1,000 people interviewed between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1, 49.5 percent said they wished to see the government’s plan for the 2017 election passed, 3.8 points fewer than in the last survey, in September.

About four in 10 people were still against the plan, as in the last survey.

Li Che-lan, a professor at City University who belongs to the group, said the significant fall in support showed the government’s “hard sell” strategy isn’t working.

Among respondents who said they were in the pan-democratic camp, 76.8 percent opposed the reform plan, up more than 10 points, while only 15 percent, down 14 points, said they were in favor of passing it.

Of those in the pro-establishment camp, 87.2 percent were for the plan, a ratio similar to that in the previous survey.

When asked about their stance if the government were willing to make concessions, such as replacing group ballots and company ballots with individual ones, 52.1 percent of those who initially opposed the plan changed their minds and said they would support it.

The concern group said that showed that many citizens are in fact open to communication if the government fine-tunes the electoral framework.

Responding to the survey results, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government has never underestimated how hard it would be to push for political reform and will strive to let citizens understand that the final plan submitted to Beijing is not an ultimate one but reserves room for future improvement.

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