Date
27 May 2017
Competing placards on the proposed election reform go up in a mixed rally. The gap between positive and negative support is narrowing, according to a new poll. Photo: HKEJ
Competing placards on the proposed election reform go up in a mixed rally. The gap between positive and negative support is narrowing, according to a new poll. Photo: HKEJ

New poll shows support for political reform at its lowest

Support for the government’s political reform proposal is slipping while public opposition is holding steady, according to a new rolling poll.

That suggests the gap between positive and negative rates is narrowing, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday. 

About 42.5 percent of respondents in the May 3-7 survey said they support the proposal, the lowest since the rolling poll began in April when the government tabled the bill in the Legislative Council.

By contrast, 39.5 percent said they oppose the measure, up from 38.7 percent previously but down slightly from the 40.2 percent peak.

About 18 percent had no opinion.

The poll, conducted by the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic, interviewed 1,157 people.

There have been 11 such polls, with the highest support rate at 49.5 percent in an April 25-29 survey.

Dr. Chung Kim-wah, director of the Center for Social Policy Studies of Hong Kong Polytechnic, said the results did not clearly reflect recent efforts by government officials to promote the proposal through district visits.

However, he said these were influenced by comments from high-profile establishment figures such as former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Tung, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has said people opposed to the Communist Party cannot become official candidates in the 2017 election for Hong Kong’s next leader.

Ma Ngok, head of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Government and Administration, said the poll showed district visits by officials were not only ineffective but also had a negative impact on the public.

And Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau compared the strategy to a “kiss of death” and urged the government to stop it and not waste any more taxpayers’ money.

Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong said district visits should be encouraged, calling them a “natural” extension of government function.

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