Hongkongers’ satisfaction with the political situation has leapt by 12 per cent in the past month as Beijing imposed controversial national security legislation on the city, according to a survey by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI).

The jump to minus 70 per cent represented a record high since last May after public opposition grew towards plans for an extradition treaty with mainland China. The ill-fated bill sparked months of pro-democracy protests, culminating in the enactment of the security law.

National security
Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Activists have warned of a chilling effect and crackdown on free expression under its broad provisions.

Government officials have also, in recent weeks, tightened anti-coronavirus restrictions, including prohibiting gatherings of more than two people and making mask-wearing mandatory.

The polling institute interviewed 1,029 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey between last Monday and last Friday. Interviewees were quizzed about their trust in and satisfaction with the local authorities, as well as livelihood issues.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s net popularity fell by seven per cent to negative 53 per cent since the first half of July. However, the change was within the sampling error, meaning the data in the sample may have shown a result that may not have appeared in the population as a whole.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam. Photo: Inmediahk.net, via CC 2.0.

On the other hand, net satisfaction with local authorities climbed slightly from minus 54 to minus 46 percentage points over the past month. The rise marked an increase of eight per cent but was within the sampling error range. Trust in the HKSAR government remained relatively the same since last month’s poll, scoring negative 35 percentage points.

People’s happiness with livelihood and economic conditions rose by three and one per cent respectively from the previous month – all within sampling error margins.

Led by Professor Robert Chung, the HKPORI launched last June after its split from the University of Hong Kong, under which it was known as the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). The city’s top pollster regularly charts the popularity of the government, chief executive and top officials. Its office in Wong Chuk Hang was raided by the authorities earlier this month following an alleged data leak.

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.