The latest poll in Hungary, Fidesz strategy, and some humor

The latest poll that came out just yesterday was done by Századvég-Forsense. One must keep in mind that Századvég is a political think-tank that was established as a publishing house by the young Fidesz leaders in the late 1980s. Its current director is István Stumpf, former minister and confidante of Viktor Orbán. Stumpf led the huge prime minister's office between 1998 and 2002. However, close connections or not, Századvég-Forsense has been indicating a shift away from Fidesz toward MSZP in addition to the growing popularity of Jobbik. Here are a few figures. Századvég-Forsense at the end of the summer predicted that if elections were held at that time only 17% of those who would assuredly go to the polls would vote for MSZP. Today that number is 25%. Similarly Fidesz's committed voters constituted 63% of the voters then. Today it is only 57%. At the end of June Jobbik had 10% of these votes. Today, the number is 12%. So instead of a shrinking Jobbik voting bloc we are seeing growth. I might also mention that Szonda Ipsos published its poll a week ago. Its figures as far as the Fidesz-MSZP split is concerned are very similar to those of Századvég-Forsense: 60% for Fidesz and 23% for MSZP. In addition, the popularity of Bajnai's government is on the rise in spite of the austerity program and the still growing unemployment. According to Medián, positive opinion about the work of the government is the highest it has been in the last two years. I guess that the observable results of the austerity program and the strengthening of the forint has a lot to do with the government's growing popularity.

Fidesz leaders who most likely have been watching these developments with growing unease decided to turn up the volume on their criticism of the Gyurcsány-Bajnai era, a criticism that sometimes borders on the absurd. Enter Peter Popper, a psychologist who often writes on political topics. He used to do it more often but, as he said in one of his interviews, he became tired of politics because his writings were no more than cries in the wilderness. They had no effect whatsoever. Therefore I was suprised to see Popper's name on the op-ed page of Népszava this morning. Popper in this piece doesn't want to improve society but to make fun of Fidesz's strategy. The title of the short piece is : "2010." Let me share it with you and brighten your day. He starts by quoting a real news item.

(Portion of a news item from Helyi Téma, September 16. Its title: "Orbán: This is the politics of shifty creeping along." [In Hungarian: "Ez a sunyi sompolygás politikája."] "The Gyurcsány-Bajnai era became a time of lost jobs, of defunct companies, of closed hospitals and doctor's offices, of locked up schools and post offices, and of removed rails." )

–Good morning, Mr. Director.

–Good morning. What can I do for you, young man?

–I would like to apply for the job of office-boy.

–No problem. Did you write your resumé?

–Unfortunately not.

–Why not?

–I can't write.

–How is that possible?

–I was supposed to attend school during the Gyurcsány-Bajnai era.

–And?

–Didn't you read in a newspaper with a circulation of one million about Prime Minister Orbán's assessment of last year? In those days they put locks on the doors of schools. Where could I learn to read and write?

–And what happened to your left eye?

–It was shot out with a sling shot.

–It couldn't be saved?

–The hospitals and doctor's offices were closed. We live in the provinces.

–Why didn't you rush to Pest?

–That was the time they took up the rails. Where could the train go?

–There was no bus?

–My father lost his job and the company my mother worked for went bankrupt. We had no money for that.

–At least you could have received help via telephone or telegram.

–But didn't you know that they closed the post offices too?

–Terrible. Unfortunately I can't hire you under these circumstances. But don't despair. You can have lots of pleasure in life even if you are illiterate. You're a one-eyewitness of a terrible era.

–Thank you, Mr. Director, for your encouraging words!

At least humor is coming back to Hungary. And that's something.