POP releases the latest social and freedom indicators

Press Release on July 21, 2020

POP releases the latest social and freedom indicators

Special Announcement

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.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,001 Hong Kong residents by a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in early July. Our survey shows that various social and freedom indicators continue to stay low. First of all, among the five core indicators, ratings of “freedom”, “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “freedom” and “stability” have dropped significantly when compared to figures of this April. Ratings of “freedom”, “democracy” and “rule of law” have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997 while the rating of “prosperity” has registered a record low since July 2003. As for the seven non-core social indicators, ratings of “corruption-free practices”, “equality” and “fairness” score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “civilization” and “fairness” have dropped significantly. Ratings of “civilization”, “equality” and “fairness” have all registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. As for the ten freedom sub-indicators, freedom of “academic research”, “artistic and literary creation”, “publication”, “speech”, “association”, “press”, “freedom to strike” and “procession and demonstration” all score lower than 5 marks. All ten sub-indicators have dropped significantly and 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. Both have dropped significantly and registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. The latest support rating of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma is 57.1, which is comparable to the previous survey. The effective response rate of the survey is 52.4%. The maximum sampling error of ratings is +/-2.7 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 6-9/7/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,001 (including 492 landline and 509 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 52.4%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of ratings not more than +/-2.7 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 2019”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2019 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 22-24/10/18[4] 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 6-9/7/20 Latest change
Sample size[5] 523-554 553-615 587-669 627-654 598-664
Response rate 63.4% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5% 52.4%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of prosperity 6.61[6] 6.55 5.87[6] 5.45[6] 5.35+/-0.21 -0.10
Degree of freedom 6.57[6] 6.60 6.00[6] 5.58[6] 4.84+/-0.27 -0.74[6]
Degree of democracy 5.10[6] 5.42[6] 4.55[6] 4.61 4.37+/-0.28 -0.24
Compliance with the rule of law 6.21[6] 6.20 4.41[6] 4.45 4.14+/-0.27 -0.31
Degree of stability 6.61 6.29[6] 4.05[6] 4.44[6] 4.12+/-0.23 -0.32[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 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 6-9/7/20 Latest change
Sample size 1,017 526-642 587-716 627-663 616-665
Response rate 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5% 52.4%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of social welfare sufficiency 6.24 5.79[7] 5.55 5.56 5.63+/-0.23 +0.07
Degree of civilization 6.84 6.78 5.68[7] 6.00[7] 5.42+/-0.24 -0.58[7]
Degree of efficiency 6.66 6.36[7] 5.88[7] 5.25[7] 5.34+/-0.23 +0.09
Degree of public order 7.47 7.02[7] 4.55[7] 5.13[7] 5.14+/-0.23 +0.01
Degree of corruption-free practices 6.59[7] 6.43 5.12[7] 4.98 4.98+/-0.25
Degree of equality 5.82 5.69 4.71[7] 4.87 4.62+/-0.24 -0.24
Degree of fairness 5.77[7] 5.47[7] 4.20[7] 4.79[7] 4.15+/-0.23 -0.64[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 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 6-9/7/20 Latest change
Sample size 1,017 525-651 609-700 579-643 583-664
Response rate 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5% 52.4%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Degree of freedom (repeated listing) 7.11[8] 6.60 6.00[8] 5.58[8] 4.84+/-0.27 -0.74[8]
Freedom of religious belief 8.51 8.12[8] 7.79[8] 7.24[8] 6.71+/-0.25 -0.53[8]
Freedom to enter or leave Hong Kong 8.14 7.77[8] 7.14[8] 7.02 6.50+/-0.26 -0.52[8]
Freedom to engage in
academic research
7.06 6.78 6.46[8] 5.59[8] 4.98+/-0.28 -0.61[8]
Freedom to engage in
artistic and literary creation
7.10 6.93 6.54[8] 5.63[8] 4.96+/-0.28 -0.67[8]
Freedom of publication 6.40 5.76[8] 5.81 5.10[8] 4.40+/-0.29 -0.70[8]
Freedom of speech 6.80 6.20[8] 5.85[8] 5.24[8] 4.39+/-0.31 -0.85[8]
Freedom of association 6.42 5.38[8] 5.13 4.88 4.35+/-0.31 -0.53[8]
Freedom of press 6.43[8] 5.81[8] 5.72 4.94[8] 4.27+/-0.30 -0.67[8]
Freedom to strike 6.25 5.86[8] 5.04[8] 4.67[8] 4.08+/-0.29 -0.59[8]
Freedom of procession and demonstration 6.79[8] 6.15[8] 4.68[8] 4.13[8] 3.31+/-0.32 -0.82[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 4-9/5/18 6-9/5/19 16-19/9/19 14-17/4/20 6-9/7/20 Latest change
Sample size 1,017 527-688 642-690 641-658 584-643
Response rate 59.5% 63.2% 69.5% 64.5% 52.4%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Compliance with the rule of law (repeated listing) 6.74[9] 6.20 4.41[9] 4.45 4.14+/-0.27 -0.31
Impartiality of the courts 6.84[9] 6.20[9] 5.52[9] 4.60[9] 4.24+/-0.22 -0.35[9]
Fairness of the judicial system 6.35[9] 5.63[9] 4.37[9] 4.41 4.07+/-0.24 -0.34[9]
Support rating of Geoffrey Ma 69.6[9] 62.7[9] 57.1[9] 57.3 57.1+/-2.7 -0.1

[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 rating on “prosperity” is relatively higher, with 5.35 marks. Ratings of “freedom”, “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” score lower than 5 marks, with 4.84, 4.37, 4.14 and 4.12 respectively. Compared with the survey in mid-April, ratings of “freedom” and “stability” have dropped significantly. Ratings of “freedom”, “democracy” and “rule of law” have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997 while the rating of “prosperity” has registered a record low since July 2003.

As for the non-core indicators, “social welfare sufficiency”, “civilization”, “efficiency” and “public order” got higher ratings, with 5.63, 5.42, 5.34 and 5.14 marks respectively. Ratings of “corruption-free practices”, “equality” and “fairness” score lower than 5 marks, with 4.98, 4.62 and 4.15 respectively. Compared with the previous survey, ratings of “civilization” and “fairness” have dropped significantly. Ratings of “civilization”, “equality” and “fairness” have all 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 6.71 and 6.50 marks respectively, followed by freedom of “academic research”, “artistic and literary creation”, “publication”, “speech”, “association”, “press” and “freedom to strike”, with 4.98, 4.96, 4.40, 4.39, 4.35, 4.27 and 4.08 marks respectively, while freedom of “procession and demonstration” only scores 3.31 marks. Compared with the previous survey, all ten sub-indicators have dropped significantly and have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997.

As for the two rule of law sub-indicators, “impartiality of the courts” got 4.24 marks, while “fairness of the judicial system” got 4.07 marks. Both indicators have dropped significantly and registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. As for Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, his latest support rating is 57.1 on a scale of 0 to 100, which is comparable to 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 14 to 17 April, 2020 while this survey was conducted from 6 to 9 July, 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.

9/7/20 Hong Kong confirms 34 local infections with coronavirus disease.
8/7/20 Hong Kong confirms 19 local infections with coronavirus disease.
7/7/20 Hong Kong confirms 9 local infections with coronavirus disease.
6/7/20 The implementation rules for the national security law are gazetted by the government.
5/7/20 Local infections with coronavirus appear in Hong Kong again.
4/7/20 Nine books related to politics are taken off shelf in public libraries and put under review.
3/7/20 The Central Government and the SAR Government announce multiple personnel appointments concerning the national security law.
1/7/20 Ten people are arrested for allegedly violating the national security law in the July 1 protest.
30/6/20 The national security law is passed and comes into effect.
27/6/20 Media reports on information on the penalties of the national security law.
26/6/20 The US Senate passes the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
20/6/20 Some contents of the national security law have been revealed.
18/6/20 The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress discusses the national security law.
16/6/20 The government relaxes restrictions and allows group gatherings of up to 50 people.
15/6/20 The Central Government will have enforcement powers regarding the national security law.
12/6/20 The Central Government criticizes groups for organizing referendum for class boycott.
9/6/20 The government announces investment of $27.3 billion in Cathay Pacific Airways to avoid its collapse.
8/6/20 The government announces the arrangements for $10,000 cash payout.
8/6/20 Zhang Xiaoming delivers speech at a webinar to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Basic Law’s promulgation.
4/6/20 June 4 vigils are held in various districts.
2/6/20 Local infections with coronavirus appear in Hong Kong again. Prohibition on group gathering is extended for 14 days.
29/5/20 Donald Trump announces new measures toward China and Hong Kong and says China has replaced one country, two systems with one country, one system.
28/5/20 National People’s Congress passes resolution to enact national security law in Hong Kong.
27/5/20 Over 360 people are arrested in protests against the National Anthem Bill and the national security law.
24/5/20 People rally against the national security law on Hong Kong Island. Over 180 people are arrested.
22/5/20 The Central Government will set up national security agencies in Hong Kong after implementation of national security law.
21/5/20 National People’s Congress will deliberate on national security law in Hong Kong.
19/5/20 Unemployment rate in Hong Kong rises to 5.2%.
18/5/20 Starry Lee Wai-king is elected the chairperson of the House Committee of the Legislative Council.
16/5/20 Two managers of liberal studies resign from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.
15/5/20 Independent Police Complaints Council releases a report saying there is no evidence of casualties in the Prince Edward MTR incident on August 31.
13/5/20 Two local infections with coronavirus end Hong Kong’s 23-day streak of no local transmission.
12/5/20 The government relaxes eligibility criteria to the Wage Subsidy Scheme.
11/5/20 Ocean Park seeks $5.4 billion government bailout to avoid shut down.
8/5/20 Eleven democrats get thrown out after conflicts occur in a meeting of the House Committee of the Legislative Council.
4/5/20 Hong Kong’s GDP drops by 8.9% year-on-year in the first quarter.
3/5/20 The government will distribute reusable masks.
2/5/20 Police finds explosives at an abandoned school.
1/5/20 People gather in multiple districts.
28/4/20 The government announces that cross-boundary students and certain business travelers can be exempted from quarantine.
27/4/20 The government considers relaxing entry restrictions at land borders.
21/4/20 The government announces the appointment of five Directors of Bureaux.
21/4/20 The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office issues multiple statements to criticize Dennis Kwok.
20/4/20 Unemployment rate in Hong Kong rises to 4.2%.
18/4/20 15 pan-democrats including Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai are arrested.
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.

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 “freedom”, “democracy”, “rule of law” and “stability” score lower than 5 marks. Ratings of “freedom” and “stability” have dropped significantly when compared to figures of this April. Ratings of “freedom”, “democracy” and “rule of law” have registered all-time lows since records began in 1997 while the rating of “prosperity” has registered a record low since July 2003.

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

As for the ten freedom sub-indicators, freedom of “academic research”, “artistic and literary creation”, “publication”, “speech”, “association”, “press”, “freedom to strike” and “procession and demonstration” all score lower than 5 marks. All ten sub-indicators have dropped significantly and 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. Both have dropped significantly and registered all-time lows since records began in 1997. The latest support rating of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma is 57.1, which is comparable to the previous survey.

Detailed Findings

Click to access the login or register cheese