Date
19 October 2018
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has seen her popularity rating slide after Typhoon Mangkhut, indicating that people were not too happy with the way she handled the post-storm arrangements. Photo: CNSA
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has seen her popularity rating slide after Typhoon Mangkhut, indicating that people were not too happy with the way she handled the post-storm arrangements. Photo: CNSA

Carrie Lam’s popularity hits record low after Typhoon Mangkhut

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has seen her popularity hit its lowest level since she took office, according to an opinion poll undertaken last week after the city’s residents suffered from Typhoon Mangkhut.

In the survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Program (HKUPOP) between Sept. 18 and 20, a few days after Mangkhut caused serious property damage and traffic disruptions to many locals, Lam’s popularity stood at 50.8, barely above the half-way mark.

The latest figure represents a slide of 6.5 points from her rating — 57.3 — in a previous poll at the beginning of the month, and marks her weakest popularity level since she became Hong Kong’s leader on July 1 last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The survey, based on random phone interviews with 1,002 respondents, showed the chief executive’s approval rating was at 40 percent, down from the 48 percent mark in the previous poll earlier this month, while her disapproval rating went up to 45 percent from 38 percent.

As such, Lam’s net popularity was negative 4 percentage points, the second worst since she took the helm and down as many as 15 points from a similar survey conducted half a month ago.

Lam came under fire after she decided only to allow suspension of schools but not work on Sept. 17, the day after Mangkhut pounded the city.

The failure to declare a general holiday after the super typhoon led to Lam facing criticism from the public, with people complaining that they had to make their way to work even as the roads were littered with fallen trees and transport operators were not running normal services.

The younger and the more educated the respondents were, the more they were critical of Lam as chief executive in terms of support rate, the HKUPOP said, citing the survey results.

The survey also found that although the public’s satisfaction rating for the government’s overall performance in dealing with issues including economic and livelihood conditions was basically unchanged, the dissatisfaction rating increased 4 points to 45 percent, giving a net satisfaction rate of negative 8 points.

Asked about the important issues that Lam needs to dwell upon in her annual policy address next month, 82 percent of the respondents said they perceived housing issues as “very important”.

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents said they view medical care as very important, while 55 percent identified education as very important.

In other Mangkhut-related news, Starry Lee Wai-king, who chairs the Legislative Council’s House Committee, revealed on Wednesday that Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung is willing to attend a special meeting held by the committee on Oct. 4, together with other officials concerned, to give details on the relief work performed by the government.

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TL/JC/RC

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