POP releases the latest social and freedom indicators

 Press Release on May 8, 2020

POP releases the latest social and freedom indicators

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. The survey on the social and freedom indicators released today by POP is the last of its kind before July 1, 2020. Whether it will be continued or not will depend on public support.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,005 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in mid-April. Our survey shows that various social and freedom indicators continue to stay low. First of all, among the five core indicators, ratings of “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” continue to score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “freedom” and “prosperity” have dropped significantly when compared to figures of last September, with the former registering all-time low since records began in 1997 and the latter registering a record low since July 2003, while the rating of “stability” has significantly rebounded. As for the seven non-core social indicators, ratings of “corruption-free practices”, “equality” and “fairness” score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “fairness”, “public order” and “civilization” have increased significantly, while that of “efficiency” has dropped significantly. Ratings of “efficiency” and “corruption-free practices” have both registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. As for the ten freedom sub-indicators, freedom of “press”, “association”, “freedom to strike” and “procession and demonstration” all score lower than 5 marks. Eight sub-indicators (except freedom of “entering or leaving Hong Kong” and “association”) have dropped significantly. All ten sub-indicators have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. In the area of rule of law sub-indicators, both “impartiality of the courts” and “fairness of the judicial system” score lower than 5 marks. The former has dropped significantly and registered all-time low since records began in 1997. The latest support rating of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma is 57.3, which is similar with the previous survey. The effective response rate of the survey is 64.5%. The maximum sampling error of ratings is +/-2.4 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 14-17/4/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,005 (including 505 landline and 500 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 64.5%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of ratings not more than +/-2.4 at 95% conf. 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.

Latest Figures

Herewith the latest figures of the five core social indicators:

Date of survey 4-9/5/18 22-24/10/18[4] 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 Latest change
Sample size[5] 1,017 523-554 553-615 587-669 627-654
Response rate 59.5% 63.4% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of freedom 7.11[6] 6.57[6] 6.60 6.00[6] 5.58+/-0.23 -0.43[6]
Degree of prosperity 7.21[6] 6.61[6] 6.55 5.87[6] 5.45+/-0.19 -0.42[6]
Degree of democracy 5.65 5.10[6] 5.42[6] 4.55[6] 4.61+/-0.25 +0.06
Compliance with the rule of law 6.74[6] 6.21[6] 6.20 4.41[6] 4.45+/-0.23 +0.05
Degree of stability 6.59 6.61 6.29[6] 4.05[6] 4.44+/-0.22 +0.38[6]

[4]     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.

[5]     Before March 2020, weighted count was used to report subsample size. Starting from March 2020, raw count was used instead.

[6]     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.

Herewith the latest figures of the seven non-core social indicators:

Date of survey 15-18/1/18 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 Latest change
Sample size 587-649 1,017 526-642 587-716 627-663
Response rate 63.6% 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of civilization 6.83[7] 6.84 6.78 5.68[7] 6.00+/-0.20 +0.32[7]
Degree of social welfare sufficiency 6.12[7] 6.24 5.79[7] 5.55 5.56+/-0.22 +0.01
Degree of efficiency 6.72 6.66 6.36[7] 5.88[7] 5.25+/-0.21 -0.63[7]
Degree of public order 7.52 7.47 7.02[7] 4.55[7] 5.13+/-0.22 +0.58[7]
Degree of corruption-free practices 6.30[7] 6.59[7] 6.43 5.12[7] 4.98+/-0.24 -0.15
Degree of equality 5.87[7] 5.82 5.69 4.71[7] 4.87+/-0.21 +0.16
Degree of fairness 5.47[7] 5.77[7] 5.47[7] 4.20[7] 4.79+/-0.22 +0.59[7]

[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.

Herewith the latest figures of the ten freedom sub-indicators:

Date of survey 15-18/1/18 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 Latest change
Sample size 589-673 1,017 525-651 609-700 579-643
Response rate 63.6% 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of freedom (repeated listing) 6.72[8] 7.11[8] 6.60 6.00[8] 5.58+/-0.23 -0.43[8]
Freedom of religious belief 8.55 8.51 8.12[8] 7.79[8] 7.24+/-0.22 -0.55[8]
Freedom to enter or leave Hong Kong 8.00[8] 8.14 7.77[8] 7.14[8] 7.02+/-0.22 -0.12
Freedom to engage in
artistic and literary creation
6.99[8] 7.10 6.93 6.54[8] 5.63+/-0.25 -0.91[8]
Freedom to engage in
academic research
6.96[8] 7.06 6.78 6.46[8] 5.59+/-0.24 -0.87[8]
Freedom of speech 6.65[8] 6.80 6.20[8] 5.85[8] 5.24+/-0.27 -0.61[8]
Freedom of publication 6.24[8] 6.40 5.76[8] 5.81 5.10+/-0.26 -0.71[8]
Freedom of press 6.21[8] 6.43[8] 5.81[8] 5.72 4.94+/-0.27 -0.79[8]
Freedom of association 6.47[8] 6.42 5.38[8] 5.13 4.88+/-0.28 -0.26
Freedom to strike 6.31[8] 6.25 5.86[8] 5.04[8] 4.67+/-0.28 -0.37[8]
Freedom of procession and demonstration 6.54 6.79[8] 6.15[8] 4.68[8] 4.13+/-0.29 -0.55[8]

[8]     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.

Herewith the latest figures of the two rule of law sub-indicators and the rating of the Chief Justice:

Date of survey 15-18/1/18 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 Latest change
Sample size 629-726 1,017 527-688 642-690 641-658
Response rate 63.6% 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Compliance with the rule of law (repeated listing) 6.29[9] 6.74[9] 6.20 4.41[9] 4.45+/-0.23 +0.05
Impartiality of the courts 6.54[9] 6.84[9] 6.20[9] 5.52[9] 4.60+/-0.23 -0.93[9]
Fairness of the judicial system 6.05[9] 6.35[9] 5.63[9] 4.37[9] 4.41+/-0.24 +0.05
Support rating of Geoffrey Ma 65.1[9] 69.6[9] 62.7[9] 57.1[9] 57.3+/-2.4 +0.2

[9]     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.

The latest survey shows that various social and freedom indicators continue to stay low. Regarding the core indicators, on a scale of 0 to 10, people’s ratings on “freedom” and “prosperity” are relatively higher, with 5.58 and 5.45 marks respectively. Ratings of “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” score lower than 5 marks, with 4.61, 4.45 and 4.44 respectively. Compared with the survey in mid-September last year, ratings of “freedom” and “prosperity” have dropped significantly, with the former registering all-time low since records began in 1997 and the latter registering a record low since July 2003, while the rating of “stability” has significantly rebounded.

As for the non-core indicators, “civilization”, “social welfare sufficiency”, “efficiency” and “public order” got higher ratings, with 6.00, 5.56, 5.25 and 5.13 marks respectively. Ratings of “corruption-free practices”, “equality” and “fairness” score lower than 5 marks, with 4.98, 4.87 and 4.79 respectively. Compared with the previous survey, ratings of “fairness”, “public order” and “civilization” have increased significantly, while that of “efficiency” has dropped significantly. Ratings of “efficiency” and “corruption-free practices” have both registered all-time lows since records began in 1997.

As for the freedom sub-indicators, freedoms of “religious belief” and “entering or leaving Hong Kong” got higher ratings, with 7.24 and 7.02 marks respectively, followed by freedom of “artistic and literary creation”, “academic research”, “speech” and “publication”, with 5.63, 5.59, 5.24 and 5.10 marks respectively, while freedom of “press”, “association”, “freedom to strike” and “procession and demonstration” only score 4.94, 4.88, 4.67 and 4.13 marks respectively. Compared with the previous survey, eight sub-indicators (except freedom of “entering or leaving Hong Kong” and “association”) have dropped significantly. All ten sub-indicators have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997.

As for the two rule of law sub-indicators, “impartiality of the courts” got 4.60 marks, while “fairness of the judicial system” got 4.41 marks. The former has dropped significantly and registered all-time low since records began in 1997. As for Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, his latest support rating is 57.3 on a scale of 0 to 100, which is similar with the previous survey.

Opinion Daily

In 2007, POP started collaborating with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP a record of significant events of that day according to the research method designed by POP. These daily entries would then become “Opinion Daily” after they are verified by POP.

For the polling items covered in this press release, the previous survey was conducted from 16 to 19 September, 2019 while this survey was conducted from 14 to 17 April, 2020. During this period, herewith the significant events selected from counting newspaper headlines and commentaries on a daily basis and covered by at least 25% of the local newspaper articles. Readers can make their own judgment if these significant events have any impacts to different polling figures.

15/4/20 Director of the Liaison Office Luo Huining says Hong Kong needs to safeguard national security.
14/4/20 Carrie Lam claims the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Liaison Office did not interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
13/4/20 The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Liaison Office criticize Legislative Councillor Dennis Kwok.
9/4/20 The government launches a subsidy scheme involving $80 billion to keep workers in employment.
8/4/20 The government announces relief measures involving over $130 billion to combat the pandemic.
1/4/20 The government orders karaoke lounges, mahjong parlors and nightclubs to close.
27/3/20 The government announces the ban on gathering with more than 4 people.
23/3/20 The government bans bars and restaurants from selling alcohol.
17/3/20 The government announces people entering Hong Kong from any foreign country will be put in a 14-day quarantine.
8/3/20 Police arrests during midnight 17 people who are suspected of making explosives.
28/2/20 Police arrests Jimmy Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum.
6/2/20 People rush to purchase daily necessities.
5/2/20 The government announces people entering Hong Kong from mainland China will be put in a 14-day quarantine.
3/2/20 The government announces further closure of borders.
1/2/20 Hospital Authority Employees Alliance members vote to go on strike.
31/1/20 The government refuses full border closure.
29/1/20 People rush to purchase masks, which are in short supply.
28/1/20 The government announces partial border closure.
19/1/20 Rally at Central turns into a conflict between protestors and the police.
1/1/20 The Civil Human Rights Front organizes the New Year Rally.
31/12/19 Protesting activities occur in multiple districts on New Year’s Eve.
28/12/19 Number of tours for tourists from mainland China has plunged.
25/12/19 Protesting activities occur in multiple districts during Christmas.
11/12/19 All members of the Independent Police Complaints Council International Expert Panel quit.
9/12/19 Survey suggests that a wave of lay-offs and company closures in the retail sector is coming.
8/12/19 The Civil Human Rights Front announces that around eight hundred thousand people participated in the International Human Rights Day protest.
2/12/19 Financial Secretary Paul Chan forecasts a budget deficit in this fiscal year.
1/12/19 Protesters march along Tsim Sha Tsui.
25/11/19 The pro-democracy camp wins a majority of seats in the District Councils.
19/11/19 The anti-mask law is ruled to be unconstitutional.
17/11/19 The police surround the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and clash violently with protesters.
13/11/19 The Education Bureau announces that classes will be suspended as conflicts continue.
12/11/19 Violent conflicts between protestors and the police occur in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
11/11/19 A traffic policeman fires three live rounds at a protester.
10/11/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in multiple districts in Hong Kong.
8/11/19 HKUST student who fell from height in Tseung Kwan O passes away.
6/11/19 Junius Ho is attacked with a knife.
2/11/19 Protests and conflicts break out on Hong Kong Island.
29/10/19 Nomination of Joshua Wong for District Council election is ruled to be invalid.
28/10/19 Journalists protest against police violence targeting journalists during police press conference.
25/10/19 The High Court grants an interim injunction to restrain unlawful publishing of the personal data of police officers and their family members.
20/10/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in Kowloon district.
16/10/19 Carrie Lam delivers the 2019 Policy Address.
13/10/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in multiple districts in Hong Kong.
5/10/19 Anti-mask law rally turns into conflicts between protestors and the police in multiple districts in Hong Kong.
4/10/19 The government officially enacts anti-mask law by invoking emergency law.
1/10/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in multiple districts in Hong Kong, the police shoots a protester with a live bullet in Tsuen Wan.
29/9/19 Anti-totalitarianism rally turns into conflicts between protestors and the police in multiple districts in Hong Kong.
28/9/19 The Civil Human Rights Front organizes a rally at Tamar Park to commemorate 5th anniversary of Umbrella Movement.
22/9/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in Shatin and multiple districts in Hong Kong.
21/9/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.
18/9/19 The Jockey Club cancels night race due to safety concerns.

Data Analysis

The latest survey shows that various social and freedom indicators continue to stay low. First of all, among the five core indicators, ratings of “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” continue to score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “freedom” and “prosperity” have dropped significantly when compared to figures of last September, with the former registering all-time low since records began in 1997 and the latter registering a record low since July 2003, while the rating of “stability” has significantly rebounded.

As for the seven non-core social indicators, ratings of “corruption-free practices”, “equality” and “fairness” score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “fairness”, “public order” and “civilization” have increased significantly, while that of “efficiency” has dropped significantly. Ratings of “efficiency” and “corruption-free practices” have both registered all-time lows since records began in 1997.

As for the ten freedom sub-indicators, freedom of “press”, “association”, “freedom to strike” and “procession and demonstration” all score lower than 5 marks. Eight sub-indicators (except freedom of “entering or leaving Hong Kong” and “association”) have dropped significantly. All ten sub-indicators have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997.

In the area of rule of law sub-indicators, both “impartiality of the courts” and “fairness of the judicial system” score lower than 5 marks. The former has dropped significantly and registered all-time low since records began in 1997. The latest support rating of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma is 57.3, which is similar with the previous survey.

Click to access the login or register cheese