The ten constituencies with the highest turnout rates in the recent District Council elections were all middle-class residential districts, according to government statistics.
This year’s District Council election saw a record-high voter turnout rate at 47%. Recent statistics from the Registration and Electoral Office showed that the highest turnout rate was in Lai Chi Kok Central (65.32%), followed by South Horizons West (63.89%), Laguna City (63.75%), South Horizons East (62.69%), Ma Wan (61.30%) and Kornhill (61.29%).
Meanwhile, the lowest turnout rates were in grassroots and public rental housing districts – seven of them were in Tuen Mun. Tsim Sha Tsui Central had the lowest turnout rate at 30.16%. Pro-establishment parties won in all of these constituencies, with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong accounting for four seats and The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions for two.
Chung Kim-wah, Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, told Apple Daily that since the middle class had both a high education level and high income, they knew how to vote in order to protect their own interests.
“Especially after the controversial discussion on political reform over the past year, the middle class had their judgments and thoughts, and they will not be easily manipulated and controlled. They felt the need to vote to express their attitudes,” he said.
Chung added that ethnic minorities, new immigrants and public estate tenants felt powerless, and hence they were indifferent to community affairs.
The report also quoted Ivan Choy Chi-keung, senior lecturer of the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who said that the middle class was dissatisfied with the present condition and political environment in Hong Kong. He said this made the middle-class “yellow ribbons” and “blue ribbons” more inclined to vote. Yellow and blue ribbons refer to pro-democracy and pro-establishment points of view, respectively.
Choy also added that pro-democrats performed quite well in many middle-class districts. He said that this may cause alarm for the government.
The “6:4 golden ratio”, a phenomenon whereby pan-democrats take 60% of the votes and pro-establishment parties capture 40% of the votes, was broken. Apple Daily reported that – among constituencies with the top 10% of voter turnout – 40% of those elected were from pan-democratic parties while 60% were from pro-establishment parties.