Opinion polls and other lies

The South China Morning Post asks how easy it will be for Beijing to appoint Henry Tang as Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive in the face of negative public opinion. This follows the poll results it published yesterday giving Henry a pitiful 14% approval rating, compared with a slightly more impressive 29% for Leung Chun-ying. The SCMP article quotes two learned commentators who mildly disagree with each other about how much this will influence the final decision, leaving the reader none the wiser.

One reason not to take the poll too seriously is that the last one in June now looks like a joke. Rita Fan, who won handsomely with a 33% rating, has changed her mind about whether she wants the job at least once too often and has now further shredded her own credibility by mouthing off about the 1989 Beijing massacre (an event, incidentally, that reminds us how much the Chinese Communist Party values the public’s views). Opinion polls inflict mental cruelty on candidates – ask Republican presidential nominee hopefuls Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and soon Herman Cain – which is the only reason we pay attention to them.

I call Henry’s 14% pitiful, but it works out at 75 of the 533 respondents in the survey, which is a good 70 or so more than the man’s verbal slips, marital problems and overall image warrant. This is a bit more apparent when the pollsters offered respondents a choice of just the two, yielding 52% for CY and around 23% for Henry.

Either way, Beijing will not appoint the man Hong Kong people like; they just won’t give the job to someone everyone violently hates. Henry has too little substance to arouse hatred. CY Leung, on the other hand, unnerves people with his ideas; even some thoughtful critics of the way Hong Kong is run find the prospect of five more years of flaccid administration under Henry and his civil service robots vaguely comforting when they try to imagine life with CY as boss.

If Beijing is worried, its officials will surely urge what Henry’s local establishment supporters are probably already planning, and that is to do a proper PR job. The contenders’ hands are tied at the moment because they haven’t officially declared themselves as candidates. But in due course we can expect a tiresome, corny and not totally ineffective publicity campaign to boost Henry – endorsements from Cantopop and movie stars, photo opportunities with puppy dogs and people in wheelchairs, and so on. Until and unless crowds spit on him on the street, the job is his.

Meanwhile, spot the blatant falsehood… 

(From today's SCMP story)

The SCMP’s writers know as well as anyone that the 1,200 members of the Election Committee will have no more say over the choice of the next Chief Executive than the other 7 million of us. The decision is made by Beijing, and the ‘election’ by the 1,200 next March will be a charade. The only thing more embarrassing will be the straight-faced references to it in the media suggesting the sham is real.

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6 Responses to Opinion polls and other lies

  1. Stephen says:

    The inept performance of Rita with her flip flopping and offensive remarks about 4 June 89 rules her out.

    I don’t think Beijing has any problems appointing CY Leung, he’s one of them and no democrat. It was he was just so unpopular with the masses here – and that does matter – otherwise why not appoint a faceless bureaucrat – publically shake his hand knowledgeable that the majority of the EC will do as they are told.

    CY does seem to have some substance about him and the masses are coming slowly round. So it’s for Henry to lose and with the start he’s made with the potential of more juicy titbits from marital indiscretions, as well as just being himself, he might just do just that.

    All in the hands of a few guys, with boot polished black hair, just two and half hours flying time from here to decide.

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    I have always felt personally that HK has a crucial role to play in the development of democracy in China

    Why did Mao protect HK and keep us intact in our little colonial enclave , even during the worst excesses of his reign ?

    Why did Deng Xioaping promise ” wu shi nian bu bian 五十年不变 ” ?

    “50 years of no change” ?

    Because whatever we may think about Mao, or Deng, or Zhang, or Hu … these guys at the very top were/ are basically patriots.

    That may seem to be blasphemy ( especially if you are reading Frank Dikoetter’s “Mao’s Great Famine” as I am now doing )

    But re June 4th, although I marched with the half million in 1989 (twice) I have since revised my opinion on what were the rights and wrongs in those days , based on WHAT IS THE BEST FOR CHINA IN THE VERY LONG TERM

    I personally feel that HK is now China’s testing ground for what full democracy would mean to 1/4 of the world’s population.

    That’s a huge responsibility for the guys in BJ. Don’t forget that that England beheaded a couple of kings and fought a very nasty civil war over this matter, ( and it took the UK 700 years to allow women to vote ….!) And the USA did not do much better re civil wars and assasinations of presidents, not to mention allowing black skin color votes

    If I was now commanding in BJ and reviewing China’s 5,000 year history and planning the next 100 – 200 years, I would take a VERY careful look at Europe, Russia and Japan’s recent record this past 100 years ( sort of couple of world wars …. ?! )

    Please give some credit to BJ, and bear in mind that what we decide as Don-the-Duck’s successor and post -2017 will have a huge effect on not only China but also the whole world

    (Having said that : Henry the horse / adulterer digusts me, as does the whole propert cartel. The sooner we sweep the stable clean the better . Let’s usher in CYL ASAP. I want REAL CHANGE)

  3. The Regulator says:

    Campaigning is done by lunches on Thursdays at a Club

  4. maugrim says:

    Just a question, but surely Beijing would be concerned about the security risk of Henry possibly having extra-martital affairs, rumoured to be with ‘golden hairs’.

    As much as id like to see the status quo change, I have an eerie feeling CY would change some things we value the most such as changes to the basic freedoms that make HK what it is today, flaws and all. Sad as it may sem id rather have ineptitude over being trampled.

  5. Claw says:

    Could it be that Henry doesn’t actually want the job ? The way he’s going seems a perfect fit for a graceful way out without offending the powers that be who have annointed him (assuming they don’t tumble to the ruse).

  6. Walter De Havilland says:

    This town needs a shake up … CY gets my vote. The alternatives are boring. Henry the horse will just plod along, don’t rock the boat and certainly know new initiatives. Rita meanwhile is spinning in wind and clearly indecisive.

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