Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee has received the joint-lowest popularity rating immediately after taking office when compared with his predecessors, a pollster has found.

John Lee
Chief Executive John Lee. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) released the results of its first popularity survey of the city’s new chief executive and his administration on Tuesday, after interviewing 1,003 Cantonese-speaking residents between July 4 and 7.

Lee, the ex-security chief and a former police officer, had a popularity rating of 53.8 marks, with 12 per cent of respondents giving him a zero.

This tied Lee with Leung Chun-ying, who was chief executive from 2012 to 2017, as being the least popular leader immediately after assuming office.

Carrie Lam, Lee’s predecessor and former boss, received 63.6 marks after she was first inaugurated. However, her popularity rating plunged to 36.0 in PORI’s last survey conducted in early June.

Among the respondents, 45 per cent said they were confident in Hong Kong’s new leader, compared to 39 per cent who said they had “no confidence” in Lee.

Overall, the net approval rate for Lee was at approximately positive five percentage points, which was 66 percentage points higher than what Lam scored in June.

As for Lee’s administration, it received a net satisfaction rate of negative 11 percentage points but a positive net trust value of plus 16 percentage points – record highs for the Hong Kong government since 2018, according to PORI.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.