3 November 2020

Survey Findings on Views about the Legislative Council in the 2020-21 Session
Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK



The Hong Kong government has decided to postpone the 2020 Legislative Council General Election by one year due to the severe COVID-19 epidemic situation. In response, 41 pro-establishment Legislative Councillors decided to remain in office and 3 pan-democracy Legislative Councillors refused to stay. Hence, the total number of the Legislative Councilors decreases from 65 to 62 in this coming year. A telephone survey was conducted from 19 to 23 October 2020 by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, to gauge public views on the term extension and councillors’ responses. It was found that 62.5% of the respondents believed such changes would reduce the capacity of the Legislative Council to monitor the government, while the respondents perceived “monitoring the government” (38.8%) as the most important function of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

Major findings are summarised as follows

When the respondents were asked what was the most important function of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, 38.8% answered “monitoring the government”, 23.0% and 15.2% answered “enacting the laws” and “collecting public opinion”. Only 7.6% and 2.6% answered “discussing the policies” and “providing professional suggestions”. 

The respondents were also asked their assessments of the impact of the current Legislative Council situation (primarily decrease in the number of pan-democracy Legislative Councillors from 24 to 21) on these five functions. More than half of the respondents believed that these functions would suffer negatively. For “monitoring the government”, 62.5% said that there would be a negative impact, while 11.2% said that it would be positive impact, and 20.4% answered “no impact”. For “enacting the laws”, 60.3% said that there would be a negative impact, while 16.8% said there would be a positive impact, and 15.8% answered “no impact”. For “discussing the policies”, 59.1% said “negative impact”, while 15.0% and 21.3% answered “positive impact” and “no impact”, respectively. For “providing professional suggestions”, 55.9% said that there would be a negative impact, while 13.5% said “positive impact”, and 25.0% answered “no impact”. For “collecting public opinion”, 55.6% said “negative impact”, while 12.0% and 25.9% answered “positive impact” and “no impact”, respectively. 

The respondents had little consensus on the impacts on Hong Kong’s political situation. Regarding the administration of the government, 48.8% of the respondents believed that the current Legislative Council situation would bring a negative impact, while 21.0% and 23.6% answered “positive impact” and “no impact”, respectively. Concerning the relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland, 38.0% said that there would be a negative impact, 22.6% believed that it would have a positive impact, and 26.8% answered “no impact”. For the process of legislation, 39.5% of the respondents answered that it would bring a negative impact, 28.2% said that there would be positive impact, and 24.2% said “no impact”. 

A total of 56.7% of the respondents predicted that the behaviour of the pan-democracy Legislative Councillors would be the same as before, 28.6% believed that they would be more radical, while 9.5% said they would be more moderate. Regarding their support for pan-democracy or pro-establishment Legislative Councillors, 63.4% and 66.0% said that the level of their support had not changed, 21.0% and 21.9% answered that their level of support decreased, and 12.2% and 9.4% said that it increased, respectively. 

The survey employed a dual-frame sampling design that included both landline and mobile phone numbers. A total of 715 respondents aged 18 or above (landline: 364; mobile: 351) were successfully interviewed, with response rates of 36.3% (landline) and 36.1% (mobile). The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 3.66 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.