Financial Secretary John Tsang still leads the chief executive race if he runs as widely expected but Chief Secretary Carrie Lam is catching up fast thanks to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s decision to drop out, a new survey shows.
The survey was commissioned by the Hong Kong Economic Journal and conducted by the Center for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
About 32.6 percent of respondents said they support Tsang to become Hong Kong’s next leader compared with 28.4 percent in a previous survey between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
Lam had a support rate of 23.9 percent, up from 10.3 percent, beating retired judge Woo Kwok-hing and former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang for second place.
Woo came in third with a support rate of 11.4 percent. Jasper Tsang and Regina Ip, leader of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party, had less than 10 percent.
The survey came after several new developments in the past 10 days.
Leung said on Dec.9 that he would not not seek a second term, citing family reasons.
The next day, Lam said she would “reconsider” her decision to retire in light of the new developments.
On Dec. 12, John Tsang submitted his resignation, paving the way for him to join the race despite no clear signal from Beijing.
Three days later, Ip officially launched her election campaign with the slogan “Win back Hong Kong”.
Lam may have benefited the most from the new developments, with the increase in her support mainly coming from the 9.5 percent held by Leung in an earlier poll, according to Francis Lee, a professor in CUHK’s School of Journalism and Communication.
Lee said the drop in Jasper Tsang’s support rate might be due to the fact that he showed the least interest among the potential candidates.
Ip would have a hard time shoring up her support base significantly because citizens already know her from her past performance as a civil servant, Lee said.
The survey also found that one-half of the respondents who claimed to be in the pro-democracy camp support John Tsang while 49.4 percent of those from the pro-establishment camp support Lam.
Among young respondents, Tsang beat Lam, 54.1 percent to 7.3 percent.
Asked who has the best chance of winning the election, 31.6 percent chose Tsang, followed by Lam (28.8 percent), far ahead of other competitors.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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