The newest opinion poll: noticeable Fidesz loss

This is the third poll that shows a decrease in Fidesz's popularity. Perhaps because the data collection took place after the appearance of the other two, Medián and Tárki, the change is even more dramatic. In earlier months the decrease in support was gradual. In May and June 3.3-3.4 million people considered themselves Fidesz supporters. Between then and November, Fidesz lost 300,000 voters who didn't immediately declare themselves to be potential voters for other parties but simply went over to the large group of the undecided. But in November and early December (the poll was taken between December 8 and 15) another 300,000 left Fidesz, and this time all three opposition parties actually gained supporters.

Fidesz suffered its greatest loss among young voters and people with higher education. In these groups altogether 10% of the supporters disappeared while the average loss was 4%. Such a trend is not unexpected but what surprised me was the larger losses suffered in villages and in smaller towns where Fidesz has been very strong ever since its leadership decided to move from the left to the right of the political spectrum.

Public disappointment had to come after the heightened expectations that followed Viktor Orbán's sanguine announcements of a new era that would be radically different and naturally much, much better than what preceded it. "Monday morning you will wake up in a new Hungary," said Orbán on the eve of the elections. People woke up, looked around, and the world didn't look any different. Or if it was different, it was not a change for the better due to the mistakes made by the government. In fact, what surprised everybody was that disappointment didn't set in a great deal earlier.

The relative optimism lasted until about November when half of the population still thought that better days lay ahead and only 37% were critical of the government's handling of its affairs. By the end of November the mood had shifted: today 48% look upon the future with trepidation and only 40% support the government's policies.

MSZP's camp hasn't grown since the elections: around 800,000-1,000,000 voters. The difference is, and this might be significant, that they are more active. The percentage of MSZP supporters who claim that they would definitely go and vote reached the level of the usually much more eager Fidesz supporters. The public perception of MSZP is also changing for the better. In May 34% of those asked considered MSZP a party they would never vote for. In the fall there was a slight change: only 27-30% of the voters had a violently negative attitude toward the socialists. And finally in mid-December only 20% would definitely say no to MSZP in the voting booth.

During the fall both smaller parties, Jobbik and LMP, lost votes but according to this latest poll both parties have regained some of their lost voters. The graph shows the changes in party preferences in the voting population as a whole.Szonda Ipsos-10-12-20-1 Note the incredibly large group of people who have no preference. That means that unless Fidesz is capable of turning things around in a hurry–and I don't think that there is the likelihood of dramatic changes in the economy– the undecided voters might slowly move over to the opposition parties. My hunch is that most of them will return to MSZP, which was after all the other large party in the last two decades. Especially if MSZP manages to unite at last instead of continuing its infighting.

I was listening to György Bolgár's program this morning; today János Dési was conducting the interviews. He had a conversation with the humorist Tivadar Farkasházy, who is the editor-in-chief of a satirical journal called Hócipő (Galoshes). Why galoshes? Because there is a saying in Hungarian "my galoshes are full," meaning I'm really fed up. Farkasházy very rightly noted that as long as the opposition forces cannot get together, burying their differences, they will never be successful. For example, today university students organized a demonstration against the media law, but they pointedly told the public that anyone connected with a political party should remain at home.

Szonda Ipsos-10-12-20-2The graph on the right shows the party preferences of those who definitely would vote if elections were held this Sunday. One can see changes in the last three months. While the growth in support for Jobbik and LMP is very slight, the 6% loss in the case of Fidesz is fairly substantial. MSZP has done relatively well. This is the first time since the elections that over 20% of the voters would vote for the socialists. However, one must keep in mind that huge mass of undecided voters.

I received a letter from one of our readers who helped me out with the name of the chief-of-staff of Gábor Kuncze. His name is András Gyekiczky. He was also chief-of-staff of Mayor Gábor Demszky of Budapest.

I would like to call everybody's attention to a very helpful tool: Szonda Ipsos has something they call "Grafikon rajzoló." With it one can follow the fortunes of parties and politicians from June 1998 to date. Under the "party" rubric, one can choose between "population as a whole" and "definite voters."

And here is another piece of news about a new full-fledged internet newspaper in Hungarian published in New York: Amerikai Magyar Népszava. In the past, the paper appeared only weekly but today László Bartus, the editor-in-chief, came out with a new, expanded format. It became a daily. The date of the first appearance of the paper in this format is no coincidence. It was today that the Hungarian parliament voted for the introduction of the new media law. As Bartus proudly announces: the Hungarian rules and regulations don't apply to him and his paper. The coverage of U.S. news will be welcome to Hungarian readers without a knowledge of English. Take a look.

 

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John G
Guest
Thank you for the links. As an admirer of Gyurcsany from day one I was pleased to note on the Grafikon charts comparing Gyurcsany and Mesterhazy that the former seems to be rising in popularity, the latter descending. Please everybody: spare me the invectives – there is nothing you can say that hasn’t been said by some of my own family-, they will not change my mind, only Gyurcsany can and to date he has not. While it maybe encouraging to note this trend against the Fidesz it is far too early to think of it as a turning point. We will know when that is by how Fidesz reacts. As yet it seems some in the party may have started to become concerned, but are not worried. There was an interesting video interview with Lázár János in the corridors of the Parliament regarding the loss of support for the Fidesz and his own self-criticism. While the video is in Hungarian one does not have to understand that language to know what Nagy Gábor Tamás of the Fdsz is saying when asked about the loss of support for his Party at 2:14 of the video. http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20101220-fideszes-es-ellenzeki-kepviselok-lazar-janos-onkritikus-javaslatarol.html I would be interested… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

John G. “Thank you for the links. As an admirer of Gyurcsany from day one I was pleased to note on the Grafikon charts comparing Gyurcsany and Mesterhazy that the former seems to be rising in popularity, the latter descending.”
We think alike, John. And I’m sorry that Odin didn’t have the opportunity to see the Orbán-Gyurcsány debate. It was a knock-out.
There are two important differences between the two men. One is honest and a democrat and the other is a crook and an autocrat.

Member

Eva S.: “And I’m sorry that Odin didn’t have the opportunity to see the Orbán-Gyurcsány debate. It was a knock-out.”
You can watch the whole debate on youtube at


mouse
Guest

My impression talking to local supporters of Fidesz was they expected brutal cuts in public services straight after the elections to pay for the tax changes. They also expected to benefit more personally from the changes. When these didn’t come they and instead many were punished again for having mortgages in foreign currencies they started grumbling. Unfortunately I think with some defining of new scapegoats and further irrational short term actions Orban could probably get them back on side.
One question though. Do you really see Fidesz as a true economically right wing party in the modern sense. For me they seem to be simple opportunists. I think we are in the gathering in of assets, in the next few years we will see the carve up. Having said that I underestimated Orban before, I expected a simple crook and we seem instead to have someone with ambitions for creating a new motherland.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
Someone Thank you for your link. I like Gyurcsány as a man and as a Parliamentarian. He is a very gaunt man and his spectacles gives the appearance of being almost skeletal. Specacles are a problem in a debate ast they are a barrier to eye contact. He believes what he says and says what he believes. His problem is attractivity (if there is such a word), physically he lacks glamour. In the debate he was direct, focusing all the time on his target with good eye contact, he was well prepared and knew what he was talking about. If he had notes you were not aware of them. He believes in his political views but I dislike the policies of his party. His opponent Orban was not well prepared; He kept moving his pencil/place marker down his notes. To me this meant that he was depending on his ‘ghost writer’ for his words. He seldom made eye contact and was looking more at the interlocutors than at Gyurcsany. He never seemed to be able to look people in the eye. Towards the end of his ‘spiel’ he was trying to ‘laugh off’ what he had said. He is not… Read more »
Member

I think both mouse and Odin’s Lost Eye made excellent points. I think in Hungary politics is a ‘bit inside out. Orban’s platform for that matter was a very leftist and nationalistic platform I believe. (Turn things back to the government, deep control of foreign investments, reshaping of social programs, promises of redistribution of “profit” (taxes, pensions), open arms (and borders) for “real” Hungarians. At the end he is keeping his promise, except not on the way how people believed would happen. He used a populist platform, he said what people wanted to hear, but he hadn’t had the resources and the mean to deliver. The smarter ones, the more informed ones knew this from the beginning but others bought into the packaging, not into the content. I think the results of these new surveys clearly shows that people woke up, and realized that who will benefit from the new taxes, how will the pension reform will occur and so forth. THis is just the beginning.

kormos
Guest

“There are two important differences between the two men. One is honest and a democrat and the other is a crook and an autocrat.”
Did you all notice how carefully and skilfully above sentences were crafted?
Ms. Balogh leaves it up to your judgement, selecting whom would you dress up with the given attributes.
I cannot stop admiring her writing skills, but she cannot hide her love for the real man Gyurcsany. Well…as they say:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

Paul
Guest

Thanks for the link, someone, I’ve long wanted to watch that debate (all I need now is an English translation!).
Purely on body-language, Gy comes across very well, but OV looks very shifty and uncomfortable, as if he’s trying to cover up something.
I bet that was the last time they shook hands!
Off topic – one thing that always puzzles me about Hungarian TV is that, in a country where the women can dress so stylishly, why are the men you see on TV always so badly dressed?!

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “Gy comes across very well, but OV looks very shifty and uncomfortable, as if he’s trying to cover up something.”
I remember the immediate reactions. OV’s handlers told him not to talk to Gyurcsány but to the audience. It was wrong advice. But my feeling is that even if OV actually engaged FGy even then Gy. would have won the debate. It was so lopsided that even the majority of Fidesz supporters thought that their idol didn’t measure up.

Joe Simon
Guest

The characterization of Orbán és Gyurcsány in this Blog is rather amusing, a crook versus a saint. Gyurcsány had a great opportunity in 2OO6 to prove his mantle. He could have gone down to the Kossuth Square and engage people. That is what Nagy Imre did in 1956 in the height of the revolution. He talked to the demonstrators, while Apró Antal, Gyurcsány’s spiritual mentor, wanted to bomb the young fighters with military aircrafts. Well Gyurcsány followed his uncle by telling police to deal firmly with the demonstrators. Also, while Orbán went to Erdély, Délvidék, Felvidék, wherever there was trouble, Gyurcsány stayed home. Gyurcsány may be intelligent but he is no politician, at least that is what two-thirds of the electorate decided.

Minusio
Guest

Joe Simon: Just to set the record straight, 52.7% of the voters who went to vote voted themselves out of their democratic future, not 66%. Because of the odd Hungarian election law, Fidesz and its appendix, the Christian Democrats, have a two-thirds majority in parlament. That is not the same. In fact, it is worse.
I don’t know if this has been discussed in this blog yet, but this tragic development – only now realised by foreign media – could have been avoided, or at least its impact softened, if Hungary had a two-chamber system.
And the antidemocratic march didn’t begin last May, it began the day Orbán lost the elections in 2002 and took politics to the streets.
It takes a civic society to stand up against totalitarian aspirations and nip such monstrosities in the bud. But there wasn’t any.

GDF
Guest

To Joe Simon: First of all how do you know that Apro was Gyurcsany’s spiritual mentor? As far as I know, he was Gyurcsany’s father-in-law, but to judge one based on his father-in-law reminds me of the darkest days of Stalinism. Second, Imre Nagy talked to the demonstrators who were on his side. The mob attacking the station would have lynched Gyurcsany, I think it would have been pretty stupid for him to try to talk to them. Third, what exactly did Orban achieve with his trips to Transylvania? How were his “politician” skill demonstrated?

Paul
Guest

Comparing the revolutionaries of 56 and Nagy Imre to Gyurcsany and the Fidesz/Jobbik inspired rent-a-mob?
Come on ‘Joe’, even you and your handlers don’t believe that.
When are you Fidesz supporters going to engage with the real debate, with the real facts?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

GDF: “To Joe Simon: First of all how do you know that Apro was Gyurcsany’s spiritual mentor? As far as I know, he was Gyurcsany’s father-in-law”
The connection is even more tenuous. Apró was his wife’s maternal grandfather who died in 1994. Before Gyurcsány and Klára Dobrev got married.

Paul
Guest

Inheriting the sins of the (step-grand)father?
Yet another old commie policy adopted by Fidesz.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “Comparing the revolutionaries of 56 and Nagy Imre to Gyurcsany and the Fidesz/Jobbik inspired rent-a-mob?”
The whole comparison is ridiculous. The huge crowd in front of the parliament at the evening of October 23, 1956 demanded the presence of Imre Nagy because they believed in him. Because they demanded his presence.
The mob that attacked the television station was the lowest of the lowest. So were the people camping out in front of the parliament building and who eventually attacked the police. No one in his right mind would get close to this rabble (csőcselék). There were there to begin a coup against the government. It didn’t work out.

kormos
Guest

Paul: Let’s have a small laugh.
The things kids say.
A congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned
to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”
The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total
stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said the congressman. “How about global warming,
universal health care, or stimulus packages?” as he smiled smugly.
“OK,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a
question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass.
Yet, a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but
a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”
The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks
about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”
To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss
global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you don’t know
shit?”
And then she went back to reading her book.

Joe Simon
Guest

Yes, we need a little humour here. Look, I am questioning the naive characterization of Orbán and Gyurcsány here. It is politically childish and immature. My view is more balanced: neither is a saint and neither is a crook.Coming back to 2OO6, whatever Apró was to Gyurcsány, he did follow that old bolshevik’s example. Donot forget Gyurcsány was a KISZ leader. After 1956 they were taught ‘mindent csirájában elfojtani’. He just followed what he had learnt in those seminars.

Paul
Guest

Thanks, kormos.
But I already had a much bigger laugh when I read ‘Joe Simon’s “My view is more balanced” – which is funny on so many levels!
And, note, those of you who still think ‘Joe’ isn’t a Fidesz troll, he makes no attempt to counter our arguments against his ridiculous 1956/2006 comparison, he just attempts to divert the conversation. As always.

Joe Simon
Guest

Paul – Gyurcsány had a chance to diffuse a situation in 2OO6, to insist on a political solution, like Nagy Imre always did. Instead he decided to act ‘firmly’ like Apró wanted in 1956. That is all the point I wanted to make. Now Gyurcsány made a huge political mistake and he had to pay for it.

Paul
Guest
‘Joe’, come on, your argument, such that it was, is pathetic. There is no real comparison between 1956 and 2006, and you know it. The only similarities are the dates. Your description of 56 is simplistic to the point of ridicule, and any comparison with 2006 deserves nothing but ridicule. Gyurcsány could have insisted on a political solution? Are you on the same planet as the rest of us? Gy WAS insisting on “a political solution”, he was the elected Prime Minister, trying to run a parliamentary democracy. OV was the one trying to avoid politics, he failed to win the election, so he took to the streets. It was the first clear statement from him that he had no time for democracy. The Hungarian people had voted against him, and that wasn’t something he was going to allow again. Those disturbances were his first steps towards painting Gy as unelectable. He knew that was the only way to win power in Hungary – don’t rely on people supporting you, just make damn sure they don’t vote for the other side. And it was clever – whatever Gy did, he lost. If the riots were a success, it was the… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul, your description of the situation in 2006 (or even earlier)is absolutely correct. And of course it had nothing to do with 1956.

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