Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah’s support rating has risen to a seven-year high, according to a survey by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme.
Tsang’s latest popularity score is 61.8, up slightly from the last survey and the highest since April 2008. The 64-year-old has been Hong Kong’s financial chief since 2007. On his watch, the government has continuously recorded a budget surplus every year. However, he has been criticised for always underestimating the surplus by a large margin and has never once predicted the budget correctly.
In June, President Xi Jinping approached Tsang on the sidelines of a Beijing meeting and offered him a firm handshake, sparking speculation that Tsang could be a candidate for the next chief executive election.
Political analysts and the media compared it to a “meaningful” handshake given by then-president Jiang Zemin to former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa in 1996 during Tung’s election campaign.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s popularity score edged up 1.2 points to 42.5, which is still below researchers’ warning line of 45.
Leung, as well as his education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim, fell under the category of “depressing” performers while Tsang was tagged a “successful” performer.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man remained the most popular principle government official. With a support rate of 71 percent, Ko is the only “ideal” performer in the administration.
The survey was conducted on November 2 to November 5. Researchers interviewed 1,008 people by phone.