HONG KONG (Reuters) – Most Hong Kong residents support the city’s ongoing protest movement, but the degree of support varies sharply by age, education and whether a person was locally-born, according to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute for Reuters.
Hong Kong residents under 30 and those who have attended college are more likely to have participated in demonstrations and to say that arrested protesters should be released.
They are also more strongly committed to the view that Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, should resign, the results show.
There is less support for those positions among people over 50, those who never attended secondary school and those who were not born in Hong Kong.
For instance, 87% of those aged 18 to 29 say they support the protests that began in March against a now-scrapped extradition bill and which have since coalesced into a movement with broader demands, including an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
Sixty-three percent of the Hong Kong residents aged 18 to 29 say they have personally participated in a protest. Across all age groups, more than half of Hong Kong residents with a college education say they have protested.
But only 26% of those 50 or older have participated in a protest. For those who never attended high school, only 12% say they have. Among older and less-educated Hong Kong residents, support for the protest movement is also well below the overall level of support.
Another division is between those born in Hong Kong and the more than 1 million people who have moved to the city from mainland China since its handover to Chinese rule in 1997. That migration has reshaped the demographics of the city of 7.5 million.
Among those surveyed who were born outside Hong Kong, 44% said they supported the protest movement and 20% said they had joined a protest. For those born in Hong Kong, the corresponding figures were 67% and 46%.
The survey involved 1,021 people randomly polled by telephone in Cantonese, which is spoken by the majority of people in Hong Kong, from Dec. 17-20. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Philip McClellan