Hong Kong Protests Have Made People Value Democracy More

The Hong Kong protests have made people value democracy more, with 42% of 26-39 year-olds and 41% of 40-65 year-olds choosing 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 for importance.

Dalia’s followup democracy perception Lightning Poll between November 15 and 21, 2019 compares responses with its June 2019 global study on the state of global democracy. 

Hong Kong’s satisfaction with democracy level has flipped

HK - Perceptions of levels of democracy June Nov 2019

The survey shows that satisfaction for levels of democracy in Hong Kong have reversed since June. When asked directly if people think there is the “right amount”, “too much” or “too little” democracy in Hong Kong, nearly half (49%) of respondents felt there is not enough democracy in Hong Kong, in contrast to nearly half (47%) in June feeling that there was the right amount. This seems to correlate with the continued public unrest in Hong Kong leading up to the District Council Elections.


However, for this November survey, more people feel strongly about the importance of democracy — 40% of people selected a nine or ten on a scale of zero to ten. This is a 15% increase from 25% who felt strongly about democracy in late May and early June.

Since protests, older people value democracy most

Older people in HK value democracy more after protests

Surprisingly, older respondents have changed their minds most. While 21% of 40-65 year-olds felt democracy was extremely important back in June, the number has jumped to 41%. In contrast, fewer young respondents (18-25 year olds) have changed their minds, shifting from 26% to 29% feeling that democracy is very important. 

Hong Kong’s Protests have polarised views of whether the city has democracy

HK perceived Democratic Deficit

At the same time, people feel that there is more democracy since the Hong Kong protests began, with 45% of people feeling that to be the case, and 19% feeling that it is very democratic (compared to 8% in June).

These findings seem to correlate with Hong Kong’s historic voter turnout for its District Council Elections, with 2.94 million voters who represented 71.2 per cent of eligible voters, according to the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC). 

In early June 2019, Dalia Research conducted a global study with over 177,000 respondents in 54 countries, called the Democracy Perception Index, where Hong Kong was one of the surveyed locations. This global study is meant to measure the gap between how important people think democracy is and how democratic they think their country currently is. 

In June, Dalia’s key finding from our global study was that across the world, the crisis that democracy is not a cry against democracy, but a cry for more democracy. On November 24, 2019, the people of Hong Kong have shown a commitment to democracy by taking to the polls.


This report presents an overview of a study conducted by Dalia Research between November 15 to November 21, 2019, with a sample of n=571 online-connected respondents. This sample takes into account a pre-defined distribution of age and gender within the population. The target variables for weighting were age and gender. The design effect based on the distribution of weights was calculated at 1.12. For a sample of this size and considering the design-effect, the average margin of error would be +/-4% at a confidence level of 95%.

The Democracy Perception Index 2019 edition was conducted by Rasmussen Global and Dalia Research in the Spring of 2019. The sample of n=177,870 online-connected respondents was drawn across 54 countries, with country sample sizes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000. Nationally representative results were calculated based on the official distribution of age, gender and education for each country’s population, sourced from most recent and available data from Barro Lee & UNStat, and census.gov. The average margin of error across all countries sampled is (+/-) 2.77%.

Dalia’s online surveys are distributed to over 40,000 partners to be filled using desktop or mobile devices. If you have questions regarding the methodology of the survey, you can reach out directly to contact@daliaresearch.com.