POP releases appraisals of society’s current conditions and Public Sentiment Index (2019-12-23)

Dec 23, 2021
Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute Press Conference – Press Materials

POP releases appraisals of society’s current conditions
and Public Sentiment Index

Special Announcements

  1. The predecessor of Hong Kong Public Opinion Program (HKPOP) was The Public Opinion Programme at The University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). “POP” in this release can refer to HKPOP or its predecessor HKUPOP.
  2. POP’s usual practice is to issue releases before the middle and also the end of each year, under the names of “HKSAR anniversary” and “Year-end” survey series for public consumption. Because the handover of Hong Kong occurred on July 1, it may be more appropriate and accurate to analyze macro changes of Hong Kong society using half-yearly rather than yearly figures. The survey results on society’s current conditions and Public Sentiment Index released today belong to the last of these survey series in 2019.
  3. Tentative release date of last survey topic in 2019 – “Year-end review” is December 30 (Monday).
  4. POP started the Macau Study Series twenty-eight years ago. It included regular surveys and electoral studies, in hopes of building towards a regional, scientific public opinion survey mechanism, creating a robust systemic database for future comparative studies. After 28 years, we would like to let the people (especially Macau people) decide whether we should continue or not. We are using the crowdfunding platform  https://www.collaction.hk/project/story/1300/  with a goal of HKD 240,000 to let people decide. If the target is reached, we will swiftly conduct our next survey. For details of our previous Macau studies, please visit: https://www.pori.hk/macau-annual-survey-index.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,046 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in mid-December. Latest results show that people’s net satisfaction rates with the current economic, livelihood and political conditions are negative 40, negative 53 and negative 84 percentage points respectively. Using a one-in-three choices method, 41% and 40% of the respondents were most concerned with livelihood and political problems respectively, while only 16% attached their greatest concern to economic problems. Compared to one year ago, the percentage of people most concerned with livelihood problems has plunged 25 percentage points while that of people most concerned with political problems has dramatically increased by 27 percentage points, with the former at its historical low since 2008 and the latter at its historical high since the survey series began in 1992. Using a scale of 0-10 marks, the ratings of people’s concern over livelihood, political and economic problems are 7.57, 7.09 and 6.90 marks respectively. The former two have both registered historical high since the survey series began in 2005. As for the PSI, the latest figure is 54.3, slightly up by 0.1 points from early December. The effective response rate of the survey is 61.6%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-3%, that of net values is +/-5% and that of ratings is +/-0.2 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 13-18/12/2019
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,046 (including 535 landline and 511 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 61.6%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3%, that of net values not more than +/-5% and that of ratings not more than +/-0.2 at 95% confidence level
Weighting method : Rim-weighted according to figures provided by the Census and Statistics Department. The gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population came from “Mid-year population for 2018”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2018 Edition)”.

[1]     This figure is the total sample size of the survey. Some questions may only involve a subsample, the size of which can be found in the tables below.

[2]     Before September 2017, “overall response rate” was used to report surveys’ contact information. Starting from September 2017, “effective response rate” was used. In July 2018, POP further revised the calculation of effective response rate. Thus, the response rates before and after the change cannot be directly compared.

[3]     All error figures in this release are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times with different random samples, we would expect 95 times having the population parameter within the respective error margins calculated. Because of sampling errors, when quoting percentages, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, whereas one decimal place can be used when quoting rating figures.

Appraisals of Society’s Current Conditions

People’s appraisals of society’s conditions are summarized as follows:

Date of survey 17-19/7/19 15-20/8/19 16-19/9/19 17-23/10/19 15-21/11/19 13-18/12/19 Latest change
Sample size 1,002 1,023 1,061 1,038 1,008 1,046
Response rate 59.8% 68.5% 69.5% 63.2% 74.1% 61.6%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Current economic condition:
Satisfaction rate[4]
28% 25% 19%[5] 19% 20% 17+/-2% -3%
Current economic condition:
Dissatisfaction rate[4]
47% 53%[5] 55% 61%[5] 57%[5] 57+/-3%
Net satisfaction rate -19% -29%[5] -35% -42%[5] -37% -40+/-5% -3%
Mean value[4] 2.6 2.5[5] 2.4[5] 2.3 2.3 2.4+/-0.1
Current livelihood condition:
Satisfaction rate[4]
21% 16%[5] 13% 14% 17% 14+/-2% -3%
Current livelihood condition:
Dissatisfaction rate[4]
64% 69%[5] 70% 71% 69% 68+/-3% -1%
Net satisfaction rate -43% -54%[5] -57% -57% -52% -53+/-5% -2%
Mean value[4] 2.2 2.1[5] 2.0 2.0 2.1[5] 2.1+/-0.1
Current political condition:
Satisfaction rate[4]
5% 5% 3%[5] 3% 4% 3+/-1% -1%
Current political condition:
Dissatisfaction rate[4]
87%[5] 88% 85% 88% 83%[5] 88+/-2% +4%[5]
Net satisfaction rate -82%[5] -83% -82% -85% -79%[5] -84+/-3% -5%[5]
Mean value[4] 1.5[5] 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5[5] 1.4+/-0.0

[4]     Collapsed from a 5-point scale. The mean value is calculated by quantifying all individual responses into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 marks according to their degree of positive level, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest, and then calculate the sample mean.

[5]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

People’s latest satisfaction rates with the current economic, livelihood and political conditions are 17%, 14% and 3% respectively, while the net satisfaction rates are negative 40, negative 53 and negative 84 percentage points respectively. The mean score of economic condition is 2.4, meaning between “half-half” and “quite dissatisfied” in general; that of livelihood condition is 2.1, meaning close to “quite dissatisfied” in general; that of political condition is 1.4, meaning between “quite dissatisfied” and “very dissatisfied” in general.

Recent figures of people’s concerns of society’s conditions are summarized as follows:

Date of survey 19-22/12/16 19-22/6/17 18-19/12/17 14-21/6/18 17-20/12/18 13-18/12/19 Latest change
Sample size 1,009 1,007 1,013 1,000 1,000 1,046
Response rate 70.9% 71.2% 64.9% 59.6% 60.6% 61.6%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Most concerned with livelihood problems 63%[7] 68%[7] 65% 63% 66% 41+/-3% -25%[7]
Most concerned with political problems 17% 13%[7] 16%[7] 16% 13% 40+/-3% +27%[7]
Most concerned with economic problems 18% 17% 16% 18% 19% 16+/-2% -2%
Rating on concern for livelihood problems[6] 7.33 7.45[7] 7.37 7.45 7.46 7.57+/-0.12 +0.11
Rating on concern for political problems[6] 6.06 5.85[7] 5.97 5.97 6.05 7.09+/-0.16 +1.04[7]
Rating on concern for economic problems[6] 6.84 6.88 6.81 6.97[7] 6.99 6.90+/-0.14 -0.09

[6]     From October to December 2018, POP conducted tests on the wordings used in different rating scales. Figures in the table are the combined results. Please visit our website for details.

[7]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

Latest survey shows that using a one-in-three choices method, 41% and 40% of the respondents were most concerned with livelihood and political problems respectively, while 16% attached their greatest concern to economic problems. Compared to one year ago, the percentage of people most concerned with livelihood problems has plunged 25 percentage points while that of people most concerned with political problems has dramatically increased by 27 percentage points, with the former at its historical low since 2008 and the latter at its historical high since the survey series began in 1992. Using a scale of 0-10 marks, the ratings of people’s concern over livelihood, political and economic problems are 7.57, 7.09 and 6.90 marks respectively. The former two have both registered historical high since the survey series began in 2005.

Public Sentiment Index

The Public Sentiment Index (PSI) compiled by POP aims at quantifying Hong Kong people’s sentiments, in order to explain and predict the likelihood of collective behaviour. PSI comprises 2 components: one being Government Appraisal (GA) Score and the other being Society Appraisal (SA) Score. GA refers to people’s appraisal of society’s governance while SA refers to people’s appraisal of the social environment. Both GA and SA scores are compiled from a respective of 4 and 6 opinion survey figures. All PSI, GA and SA scores range between 0 to 200, with 100 meaning normal.

The chart of PSI, GA and SA are shown below:

Latest figure Public Sentiment Index
(PSI): 54.3 (+0.1)
Government Appraisal
(GA): 52.3 (+1.3)
Society Appraisal
(SA): 58.6 (-1.1)

Recent values of PSI, GA, SA and 10 fundamental figures are tabulated as follows:

Cut-off date 3/10/19 23/10/19 8/11/19 21/11/19 3/12/19 18/12/19 Latest change
Public Sentiment Index (PSI) 54.7 50.5 50.2 54.2 54.2 54.3 +0.1
Government Appraisal (GA) 55.1 49.9 49.4 51.1 51.0 52.3 +1.3
Rating of CE 22.3 20.2 19.5 19.7 19.7 19.6 -0.1
Net approval rate of CE -65% -71% -71% -72% -72% -68% +4%
Mean value of people’s satisfaction with SARG 1.8[8] 1.7 1.7[8] 1.7 1.7[8] 1.8
Mean value of people’s trust in SARG 2.2[8] 2.1 2.1[8] 2.2 2.2[8] 2.2
Society Appraisal (SA) 56.6[8] 54.2 54.2[8] 59.7 59.7[8] 58.6 -1.1
People’s satisfaction with political condition 1.4[8] 1.4 1.4[8] 1.5 1.5[8] 1.4
Weighting index of political condition 0.32[8] 0.32[8] 0.32[8] 0.32[8] 0.32[8] 0.34 +0.02
People’s satisfaction with economic condition 2.4[8] 2.3 2.3[8] 2.3 2.3[8] 2.4
Weighting index of economic condition 0.34[8] 0.34[8] 0.34[8] 0.34[8] 0.34[8] 0.32 -0.02
People’s satisfaction with livelihood condition 2.0[8] 2.0 2.0[8] 2.1 2.1[8] 2.1
Weighting index of livelihood condition 0.35[8] 0.35[8] 0.35[8] 0.35[8] 0.35[8] 0.34

[8]     POP will adopt the latest published figures when there are no respective updates.

As for the meaning of the score values, please refer to the following:

Score value Percentile Score value Percentile
140-200 Highest 1% 0-60 Lowest 1%
125 Highest 5% 75 Lowest 5%
120 Highest 10% 80 Lowest 10%
110 Highest 25% 90 Lowest 25%
100 being normal level, meaning half above half below

The latest PSI stands at 54.3, up by 0.1 points from early December. It can be considered as among the worst 1% across the past 20 years or so. Among the two component scores of PSI, the Government Appraisal (GA) Score that reflects people’s appraisal of society’s governance increases by 1.3 points to 52.3, whereas the Society Appraisal (SA) Score that reflects people’s appraisal of the social environment decreases by 1.1 points to 58.6. They can both be considered as among the worst 1%.

Data Analysis

Our latest survey shows that people’s net satisfaction rates with the current economic, livelihood and political conditions are negative 40, negative 53 and negative 84 percentage points respectively. Using a one-in-three choices method, 41% and 40% of the respondents were most concerned with livelihood and political problems respectively, while only 16% attached their greatest concern to economic problems. Compared to one year ago, the percentage of people most concerned with livelihood problems has plunged 25 percentage points while that of people most concerned with political problems has dramatically increased by 27 percentage points, with the former at its historical low since 2008 and the latter at its historical high since the survey series began in 1992. Using a scale of 0-10 marks, the ratings of people’s concern over livelihood, political and economic problems are 7.57, 7.09 and 6.90 marks respectively. The former two have both registered historical high since the survey series began in 2005.

As for the PSI, the latest figure is 54.3, slightly up by 0.1 points from early December.

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