The newest poll: SZDSZ is in trouble

Századvég-Forsense came out with the first poll since the break-up of the coalition. There are a fair number of pollsters in Hungary: some are better than others. I personally find Gallup the least reliable. While all others (Századvég, Médián, Marketing Centrum, Tárki, Szonda Ipsos) come out with similar results, Gallup is occasionally off by ten points. Századvég is the foundation established by Fidesz; to this day it is headed by István Stumpf. Therefore it is often accused of coming out with results favorable to Fidesz. But the differences are not huge, and I find Századvég quite reliable.

The polling took place between May 5 and May 15, that is, after the breakup of the coalition. The big loser seems to be SZDSZ, whose support shrank to one percent, while the winner seems to be MSZP.  According to the poll, at least half of the SZDSZ supporters switched allegiance and today would vote for MSZP. Népszabadság summarizes the results thus: "If the elections were to take place this Sunday, Fidesz would receive 30%, while the MSZP would receive 13% of the votes. Since April Fidesz lost two percentage points while MSZP gained three…. However, the difference is still very substantial." Indeed, it is substantial, but today the difference between the two parties is 17% while in April it was 22%. MDF's popularity went up a bit: it finds support among four percent of all eligible voters and two percent of those who definitely would vote.

Yet it's difficult to draw far-reaching conclusions based on this poll because of the large number of non-respondents. A few months ago the number of those who indicated that they had no intention of voting was high. This number decreased somewhat. Seven percent of those questioned responded that they would definitely not cast a vote. Twenty-three percent are undecided, and twenty-one percent refuse to answer. In brief, because over half the sample didn't opt for a party, one can draw only the most tentative of trend indicators based on these results.

Finally, Századvég-Forsense asked questions concerning people's opinion about a possible change of government. Forty-nine percent think that early elections would be a good idea. Forty-eight percent think that an MSZP minority government will not last until 2010. But forty-one percent think that it will finish its four-year mandate. These numbers may be more telling. Here, at least, 51% percent of the people aren't responding "I don't care," "I don't know," or "it's none of your business." Although one certainly cannot conclude that those who think that the government will serve out its term would support the MSZP in 2010, perhaps the difference between the two sides is smaller than the 30%-13% split would indicate.

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dinayekapelye
Guest

Eva, you often repeat that you distrust the Hungarian branch of Gallup (“Gallup is occasionally off by ten points.”), but you have to learn to revise your opinions based on evidence.
You last repeated this statement in the run up to the referendum when you commented:
“Médián is talking about 46%, Gallup 54%, Marketing Central 33% and Publicus, whoever they are, 68%. (At every election we have, I suspect, a bogus polling company. This time it seems to be called Publicus. I have an idea whose brainchild this was.) As for Gallup, Gallup of Hungary is usually so far off that it is not worth taking them seriously. It’s a shame that Hungarian Gallup is tarnishing the name of this oldest American polling company.” (your post from March 7th, 2008)
The final turnout was 50.48%, which made the Gallup prediction the closest.
You don’t seem to have revised your opinion or knowledge base based on plain stark fact.

Adrian
Guest

Dinayekapelye,
You can’t refute “occasionally” with one instance where Gallup were on the money.
Do have evidence that Gallup are never or rarely 10% off?
Or more interestingly, that Eva’s preferred pollsters “(Századvég, Médián, Marketing Centrum, Tárki, Szonda Ipsos)” have similar margins of error?
Unless you have the evidence or the argument to support your criticisms, please don’t waste our time.

dinayekapelye
Guest

Adrian,
Your understanding of scientific knowledge and progress is unfortunately based on the very outdated (but widely used) model of monotonic logic and Popper’s empirical falsificationist approach.
Having said that Eva’s reasoning is based on the approach Popper worked so hard to prove misguided, that of the justificationist approach (dependent on either panrationalism which Eva favours or irrationalism).
Your logic is neither here nor there. I merely pointed out that one needs to revise one’s opinions based on evidence or at least be more cautious, or better still clearly acknowledge one’s bias.
And to answer your next question the model of reasoning you should be using if that of non-monotonic models such as Bayesian logic/probability.
For the record, I didn’t refute or attempt to refute anything, I merely drew attention of an existing dataset that could help in revising opinions based on probabilities.
That said, it would be great to have the data and statistics as you outlined. My feeling is (to revert to abductive reasoning) that there would be little or no statistical difference between the main polling companies.

Dumneazu
Guest

Water polo, anyone?

NWONWO
Guest
Eva- As you believe that SZDSZ was wrong (on both principle and tactics) to leave the coalition, can you tell us what you believe it the right political strategy for SZDSZ in order to (1) promote policies the Party ostensibly supports and (2) increase their popularity with the electorate? I believe in reflecting on these questions, one must stipulate that the MSZP, for political (and maybe principle) reasons, was trying to undermine the Government’s activities in those areas most important to SZDSZ. Tell me, please, if you disagree with this last point? More generally, it strikes me that far more important than the current party preference polls you discuss, is the following poll (also released yesterday): “Most Hungarians believe that life was better in the János Kádár era before Communism collapsed in 1989-90, according to a survey by market researchers Gfk Piackutató. In all, 62% of the 1,000 people interviewed said they were happiest in the period preceding the change of regime, up from 53% in 2001. Those favouring the Kádár era were generally the elderly rather than the young, and those with lesser schooling. The number saying that that the pre-1990 era was the worst fell from 20% in… Read more »
dinayekapelye
Guest

Dumneazu,
As you appear interested in exploring this issue further I can recommend “I was a Teenage Logical Positivist (Now a Septuagenarian Radical Probabilist)”
Dick Jeffrey’s PSA Presidential Address (1998) link http://www.princeton.edu/~bayesway/KC.tex.pdf
Though in your case that would be “… quinquagenarian…” – well, perhaps not. I think the teenage logical positivist is still dominant.

Dumneazu
Guest

Hey, Attila, I’m not saying you are stupid, just extremely unethical, as befits a libertarian. Heck, a 3.50 in Economics is nothing to sniff at, is it?
But to the bemused spectators out there, V-who-can’t-be-named seems to think it is fun to post his latest comments using the name of my band (the Hungarian klezmer band Di Naye Kapelye) with a hyper link to my photo from my band’s web page. (I guess he gets a kick out of “outing” a Yiddish folklorist. Who would have thunk!)But then, all publicity is good publicity! Buy the CD, Attila!
If anybody is interested in who V/Attila is in the real world, I’m happy to divulge.

Adrian
Guest

Dinayekapelye,
“I merely pointed out that one needs to revise one’s opinions based on evidence or at least be more cautious, or better still clearly acknowledge one’s bias.”
It’s hard to imagine how Eva could be more cautious than by qualifying her point about Gallup than with “occasionally”.
What do you mean by ‘bias’ here? The statistical meaning – she’s a historian, not a statistician or a philospoher of science: or the ordinary one, in which case her bias, after the many thousands of words she has written is plain enough to anybody who has bothered to read them, and doesn’t need any further comment. Why this insistance that she be bias free?
The rest I didn’t understand, but I don’t think you wanted me to understand, I think you just wanted to awe me with a display of technical langauge. Sad.

Adrian
Guest

NWONWO
“SZDSZ has a very hard case to make, as they are the only Party that says explicitly that the old regime and system was bad”
Surely, Fidesz are much more explicitly anti-old regime – all that talk about communists and traitors – even if they have adopted many of the elements of the old system.
“ASIDE: the really odd thing for me is that while FIDESZ can effectively move left, it can keep together for the most part a large part of real conservative, anti-socialist voters.”
It’s odd only if you associate conservatism with the Reagan/Thatcher model. Conservatism should be thought of as policy of trying to conserve and enhance the existing institutions of the the state.

NWO
Guest

Adrian-
In your response to my earlier post, you get to the crux of the issue. FIDESZ is fervantly against the old regime, its symbols and the MSZP, as the successor organisation of the old Communist Party. In most circles, including within FIDESZ itself, I believe, this would be called 9using the normal jargon of politics) “Conservative” [i.e., anti-left wing].
Having said that, FIDESZ is conservative (small “c”) in another way. Its policies are in fact more of a continuation, at least in economic policy, of the characteristics that are seen as good from the old system. These policies of course, using the usual spectrum of left and right, are without a doubt far more to the left than the right.
So in the end, all this means is that when customary labels used in the rest of the world are applied in Hungary, they are not so apt. Hungarians may consider this one more instance of their exceptionalism. In the case of FIDESZ, I would prefer to call it “ironic” or perhaps “hypocritical”.

Adrian
Guest

NWONWO
“using the normal jargon of politics”.
Looking at the history of political parties, I think it would be easier if they had stuck to giving themselves content free labels: elephants vs donkeys, whigs vs tories. The need for an ideological lable is a 19th century fad.
What will Fidesz call themselves when Viktor is in his dotage?
Right and Left, I think, was a reference to the seating arrangements in the post revolution French Asembly, and has been pretty meaningless ever since. Presumably fascism is as right wing as you can get, but in effect wasn’t too distinguishable to communism, as far left as you can get.
I think it would be more sensible to think about the role of the state in people’s lives, which would put nazis and communists together, libertarians like Thatcher and Reagan at the other end – you can split this along social and economic issues for further diversity but it would still leave Conservatives like me right in the middle.

Adrian
Guest

YouKnowYou
Thanks for dumbing things down for me. I managed to understand nearly everything you wrote.
I’m familiar with Grice having studied him both in Philosophy as an undergraduate, and in Linguistics as a postgraduate. Could I draw your intention to his conversational maxims – especially of quantity – and suggest you try to use them in your future posts.
P.S. I enjoyed the quote form Ulysses.

kincs
Guest

Eva: “Kőszeg expressed his amazement at a party that joins Gyula Horn and that leaves a coalition whose prime minister is the liberal Ferenc Gyurcsány.”
While I can see what Kőszeg means here, it has to be said that it was the Horn government which implemented Hungary’s only serious economic reforms to date, the Bokros package, which was much closer to SZDSZ hearts than to the MSZP’s. The package was and is widely hated, nobody tried to make the public case for it, but it did give Hungary the region’s leading economy for some years. It’s because of its massive unpopularity that the MSZP has been afraid to touch reforms ever since.
On Kőszeg’s other point, I agree that it was a huge tactical error for the SZDSZ to join the MSZP cabinet in 1994. The SZDSZ misread the mood of the public and even its own voter base, and has been doing so ever since. Fodor is probably their best chance of winning voters back again, in the coalition or out of it.

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