As Hong Kong’s lawmakers prepare for a debate Wednesday on the government’s electoral reform proposal ahead of a crucial vote, public support for the universal suffrage bill has risen, according to a survey.
A rolling public opinion poll conducted by three local universities showed that supporters of the electoral reform bill are once again outnumbering those who oppose it, Apple Daily reported.
The survey, which was released Monday, found that 45 percent of respondents were backing the government’s proposal, while 39 percent opposed it.
In the latest poll — undertaken by the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University — 1,112 people were interviewed from June 10 to 14.
In the previous poll, which was conducted during June 3-7, support rate for the reform package was at 41.7 percent while the opposition level stood at 43 percent. It marked the first time that opposition to plan was higher than the support level since the rolling poll began in late April.
Dr. Chung Kim-wah, director of the Center for Social Policy Studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic, said the renewed higher support rate could be the result of a fabricated claim by radical lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung that he was offered HK$100 million to vote in favor of the electoral reform package.
Chung also believes that some people who had been wavering earlier had decided to support the reform plan at the last minute as they fear it could be a now-or-never chance for universal suffrage.
Meanwhile, a separate poll conducted between June 5 and June 14 by HKU Public Opinion Programme, which was commissioned by legislator James Tien, showed that 48 percent out of 5,043 respondents supported the reform plan, while 38 percent opposed it.
Fourteen percent took a neutral stance.
Tien, who spent HK$300,000 (US$38,696) on the poll out of his own pocket, said he will still write to the pan-democratic legislators to ask for their support for the reform plan, although the lawmakers have stated clearly that they intend to vote down the plan regardless of the public opinion polls.
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