Carrie Lam sees rise in support rating

July 14, 2021 11:20
Photo: Reuters

Someone should send Chief Executive Carrie Lam some flowers.

Well, her popularity has bounced back to reach a two-year high. The Hong Kong Public Opinion Program concluded in its latest survey that her popularity rating registered a significant increase of 4.2 marks to 34, the highest score since June 2019 when the anti-fugitive law drew two million people to the street.

So no more sleepless night at the Government House? Unfortunately, that is only part of the story. Still some thirty-seven per cent of respondents gave her zero mark.

As such, Lam had a net approval rate of negative 47 percentage points, having subtracted a disapproval rate of 67 per cent from a 20 per cent approval rate.

If the poll is credible, that should kill any chance of her re-election next year, although there is no indication she has dropped out of the Chief Executive race yet.

However, her self-assessment appeared to be quite different from the public opinion. Over the weekend, Lam said she thought she has done “not too bad a job” in the past four years because she has put forward some 900 policy initiatives.

She also showed her emotional side when she refused to talk about her family. She said they have made a lot of sacrifices for her.

So why is Lam getting a bit more popular at the start of her final year?

All told, her largest media enemy, Apple Daily, has bowed out after the implementation of the national security law, under which many, if not all, opposition figures went to the jail.

With tens of thousands of Hong Kong people leaving the city, it is likely that the sample size of around 1,000 respondents would say better things about her now than it was last year.

It is debatable if she showed her leadership during the pandemic, but to be fair, she has done, in her words, “not too bad a job” in fighting against covid-19 compared to her peers in the region.

Her subordinate, new Chief Secretary John Lee debuted with a 38 support rating, better than Lam herself, we shall give him time to prove if he is a much better leader.

Likewise, the support rating of Financial Secretary Paul Chan also hit a 41-month high of 43.5 by significantly rebounding eight points.

Another wild card to watch is Chris Tang, the new Secretary for Security, who debuted with a net approval rate of two percentage points.

All three men are believed to be in the race of the top job next year and their performance in the next six months is going to carry much weight in the assessment of their chance.

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EJ Insight writer