Chief Executive Carrie Lam has seen her popularity rise after she took office on July 1, according to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme.
Lam’s popularity rating has increased dramatically by 11.5 points to 63.7 as compared to two weeks ago, a poll carried out between July 3 and 6 showed.
The rating for Lam is higher than the 53.8 marks that her predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, scored when he began his term in 2012.
It is, however, lower compared to those of two other former chief executives, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Tung Chee-hwa, who scored 72.3 and 64.1 respectively when they began their tenures, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Among 832 respondents randomly interviewed by phone, Lam’s approval rate was 52 percent and her disapproval rate was 34 percent, giving her a significant net positive popularity rating.
Both her popularity rating and net approval rate are at the highest levels since she won the chief executive election in March.
Dr. Chung Kim-wah, a political scientist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said he is somewhat surprised at Lam’s high popularity.
The good numbers may be the outcome of Lam’s conciliatory approach, such as her promise to attend the Legislative Council for Q&A sessions every month and a pledge to consider reopening the Civic Square that served as a venue for protests in the past, Chung said.
However, Chung noted that it is hard to say whether Lam can remain so popular in the future since she needs to resolve multiple controversial issues, such as land supply for building public homes.
As for the secretaries of departments, the latest support rating of Financial Secretary Paul Chan stood at 40.5, while that for Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen was 52.8. They both scored below Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, whose popularity rating was 57.6.
Among the three, Paul Chan is the only one whose approval rate was lower than disapproval rate. His net popularity now stands at negative 19 percentage points.
Of the 13 directors of bureaux, Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah, Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang and Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing, who are among the re-appointed officials from the previous administration, have all seen their net approval rates significantly rise by 15, 14 and 8 percentage points respectively.
However, Lau Kong-wah registered negative net popularity, the only one to suffer that among all the directors.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong, a founding member of the Democratic Party, is currently the most popular top official with a net approval rate of positive 44 percentage points.
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