“Attitude Extremity of Political Trust in Hong Kong” by Dan Chen & Wenbin Li
February 17 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Abstract: Extreme political attitudes indicate less susceptibility to persuasion. An increasing amount of extremity on both ends of the attitude spectrum suggests a diminishing ground for compromise and consensus. This research note explores attitude extremity of political trust in Hong Kong. Analyzing multi-year polling results, it finds that trust in the central government in Beijing has seen more extreme attitudes since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. Both the proportion of extreme trust in all trust and the proportion of extreme distrust in all distrust have been growing, though the former grew at a faster pace between 1997 and 2008 and the latter grew at a faster pace between 2009 and 2020. Regression models with system-level covariates show that both trends of attitude extremity correlate positively with socioeconomic indicators and negatively with political freedom indicators. These findings suggest that continued socioeconomic growth and worsening political freedom would drive Hong Kong residents further into the extreme categories of trust in the central government, foreboding continuing division and conflict when it comes to the relationship with mainland China.