Political map of the Hungarian population

An absolutely fascinating poll was taken by the Publicus Research Institute at the request of the Progressive Institute, a political think tank. The Progressive Institute had an ambitious goal: to give an accurate map of the Hungarian population's political views. I must say the researchers of the Progressive Institute with the help of the Publicus Research Institute succeeded admirably in the task.

Between October 1 and 9 a fairly long questionnaire was distributed to a representative group of 1,196 people over the age of eighteen. The results are stunning. It is now well demonstrated, as I suspected all along, that today's Hungarians are deeply conservative in social and cultural matters while they demand a high level of social services from the state. The scatter plot below shows that an overwhelming majority of the population (88%) falls within the two left quadrants (those who believe in a paternalistic state), while 68% (the bottom two quadrants) are socially and culturally conservative.

The scatter plot is color coded to reflect gradations that don't fit neatly into a Cartesian world. A significant percentage of the group on the left, colored blue, is fairly liberal in social matters. This 40% of the population is more open to the world of ideas than the 37% below them (in green) who are nationalistic, against globalization, believe in the supremacy of Hungarians, and are antagonistic toward anyone different from them. Interestingly enough, this group demands the most state assistance. The smallest cluster (23% in grey) is the traditional, conservative group that believes in the market economy, accepts globalization, is not ethnocentric, but at the same time is very conservative. They want to send women back to the kitchen and are for the reintroduction of the death sentence. They are fiercely homophobic.Progressziv1

One of the more surprising findings of the study is that educational level, age, and income seem to make no difference as far as political outlook is concerned. It seems to be immaterial whether one is old or young, lives in Budapest or in a village. Most want a strong and providing state and most are socially conservative. So what is it then that determines who votes for which party if the population is so homogeneous? According to the Progressive Institute the most important "fault line" is people's attitude toward the Kádár regime. What is important to them is not their attitude toward economics or social and cultural matters but their emotional tolerance or rejection of the former socialist regime. A paradoxical situation in this case is that those who would most love to replicate the security of the Kádár regime are the very same people who show the greatest hatred toward that regime.

This map presents party strategists with a serious dilemma: how can they appeal to a fairly homogeneous group of voters?  According to Publicus Fidesz in 2006 was much closer in program and thinking to the average voter; it promised a great deal more from the government than MSZP. And yet MSZP won despite the fact that the party was outside the ideological mainstream. Less reliance on the state and more liberal in social and cultural matters than the average voter. Were voters simply tired of the government and desirous of a change? Did they vote based on personality rather than policy? Whatever the case, it is worth noting that by 2008 MSZP moved over to the left side of the graph and by now the two leading parties are close to each other and to the electorate as a whole.

SZDSZ and MDF remained steadfast–SZDSZ way up in the liberal corner and MDF in the middle. The problem is that in these spaces there are hardly any voters. If people voted according to their ideological preferences neither SZDSZ nor MDF would be represented in parliament. Mind you, such an eventuality is not out of the realm of possibilities in 2010.

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NWO
Guest

How predictable and how miserable. Once again going against the tide and wishing for a safe world of the past that was never as good as people remember it.
This also helps explain why Hungary will in the long run lose ground to Poland and other countries in the region where individual responsibility is actually valued.

Eva Balogh
Guest

NWO: “How predictable and how miserable. Once again going against the tide and wishing for a safe world of the past that was never as good as people remember it.”
This is the heritage of the “not so awful” Kádár regime. Perhaps Hungarians would have been better off if Hungary hadn’t been the “happiest barrack.”

Ricsi
Guest

We all know how MSZP “won” the last election–lying,lying and more lying together with pörkölt stew’s and beer money for the ‘minority’ to vote Mszp and shipping in disenchanted voters from the suburbs.
2000 forints was the going rate then for the beer money.
How cheaply the ‘sheep’ can be bought…

Eva Balogh
Guest

Ricsi: “We all know how MSZP “won” the last election–lying,lying and more lying”
Fidesz promised a great deal more. And still.

NWO
Guest

Eva-
You right. Another delicious irony. But still to think the people prefer warmed over socialism and the paternalism of the State is just very depressing.
Sadly, the economic crisis of 2008/2009-which is aiming up to be far worse for Hungary than people imagined even a month ago-probably will only reinforce these opinions.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
This scatter diagram does not surprise me. For the past 200 year’s the population in this land as always been accustomed to doing what it was told. If you were an Austrian the Hungarians would do what you told them to do. If you were a lord or some other important person the Hungarians would do what you told them to do. The attitudes of not thinking and of obeying were and still are deeply ingrained in the majority of the population. This is in sharp contrast to the attitudes found in many western countries especially the USA and the UK. It is also remarkably interesting that the peoples of Northern Germany, Northern Poland and of the Baltic States are relearning some of their traditional attitudes. One should remember that in medieval times merchants of the Hanseatic League –which consisted of ‘free cities’ who formed the sort of virtual Republic although it was supposed to give allegiance to win the Holy Roman Emperor. These free citizen was self governing and the Hanseatic League was a major trading force in Northern Europe. It was said of small merchant of the Hanseatic League had a higher standard of living than the Kings… Read more »
Ricsi
Guest

Éva,
Fidesz promised a great deal more–TRUE,but they did not give Pörkölt stews and 2000 ft beer money to ‘persuade’ the minorities,should they have been so corrupt and offered 3000,then they would easily have won.
Watch for an awakening amongst the non-socialist brain washed masses (and even some of these)in the year 2009.It is beginning as we write–(clue)maybe even on your Jan 17 Sabbath .

Eva Balogh
Guest

Ricsi: Eva, Fidesz promised a great deal more–TRUE,but they did not give Pörkölt stews and 2000 ft beer money to ‘persuade’ the minorities,”
Oh, come on, you are kidding yourself. This is how you try to explain why Fidesz lost. The difference between the two parties was great and no beer and stew to the minorities (which is not even true) could have made a difference.

Mark
Guest
I think we should be careful in interpreting this evidence. The notions of the political maps organized along these two axes has been used internationally since 2000. Its use in Hungary has actually come rather late. What this research has shown almost everywhere is that there is a significant disconnect between the preferences of the population, and their parties. The first question this raises, of course, is whether such maps are good predictors of peoples’ votes – and if they aren’t, what does cause people to vote the way they do. I’ve seen the research for the UK, Germany, and Austria that is equivalent to this. In all three countries on economic and social questions people tend to be far more collectivist than any of the parties they vote for on economic and social questions, and much more socially conservative, and anti-immigration than the centre of the axes. What this might lead us to suggest is that Hungary’s public opinion map is quite European, and that rather than attempt to blame the legacy of state socialism for an apparent Hungarian exceptionalism, we ought to ask why it looks so like the map of countries to its west. I suspect comparison… Read more »
Ricsi
Guest

Éva,
It is not only true,but provable–you prove it not true !

Eva Balogh
Guest

Ricsi: “Éva, It is not only true,but provable–you prove it not true!”
Well, if it’s so easy to prove it, prove it. But put it that way: the difference between Fidesz-KDNP voters and MSZP + SZDSZ voters was almost half a million! Try to buy that many “ethnic” (Gypsy?) votes with stew and beer! Altogether there are that many Gypsies in Hungary, babies included and everybody knows that relatively few Gypsies bother to vote.
It is pitiful what the Hungarian far right can come up with. You are deluding yourselves. Face facts, Fidesz lost the elections fair and square.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Mark you say **** “Pursuing a policy of economic liberalism and welfare retrenchment is likely to destroy the constituency for a European, tolerant society. Indeed I’d suggest this is precisely what destroyed the SZDSZ as a 20% party in the 1990s” ***
I fear you are right. In hard times there are those who promise the moon to get POWER but they never deliver. It takes a communicator like F.D Rooservelt or a Thatcher to put over a democraticaly acceptable solution. For the far right there is always the ‘conflict syndrome’ to put down unrest at home.

Ricsi
Guest

Éva,
I repeat myself,but once again,I could not really care less about Fidesz,However Mszp DID lie and cheat to win,even your great hero Gyurcsány admitted such .Journalists who try to investigate this and other scandals suddenly find drugs in their car ,how strange !

Ricsi
Guest

Odin
THATCHER-a democratically acceptable solution !! LOL,now you really are in cloud cuckoo land.

mt
Guest

Thatcher saved Britain. In the late 1970s, Britain was worse off than Hungary is now. You have no idea.

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