A real dip in Fidesz support: Medián

Medián has the reputation of being one of the more reliable pollsters in Hungary. If poor Mark were still with us he would immediately retort that they are all lousy. OK, let’s say that Medián is the least unreliable. It acquired its good reputation when its prediction was close to the real results of the 2002 elections when most pollsters were sure of a Fidesz landslide victory instead of a narrow loss.

In any case, Medián conducts polls for HVG every month. Medián and other more reputable pollsters have been showing a slow but steady decline in the governing party’s popularity. One or two percent every month which is indeed not significant until one adds it up and it turns out Fidesz has lost about 10% of its support since the elections. That is a sizable number of voters, about 600,000 between June 2010 and February 2011. A brave political commentator, László Kéri, predicted that in the next few months another 400,000 will turn away from Fidesz. How he comes up with such a number I have no idea, but we know that people are disappointed. Viktor Orbán’s popularity is still over 50%, but since last May he has lost 15% of his admirers.

People are fed up with politics in general, and only 41% of the representative sample say that they would definitely vote if elections were held this Sunday. A few months after the elections low participation is the rule, but according to Medián it has never been that low in the month of January after an election. Just to give you an example, in 2003 that number was 68% and even in 2007 it was still 50%.

There is also a huge group of people who today have no idea for whom they would vote. Last June it was 25% of the sample; this month it is 35%. The drop of support for Fidesz that has been slow and steady suddenly became dramatic. In one month Fidesz lost 7% of its support in the voting-age population–that is, about half a million people. These people didn’t flock to MSZP, which still stands at only 12%. The number of those who categorically say that they wouldn’t vote for Fidesz has also grown to 35%. On the other hand, Attila Mesterházy cannot be very happy when he hears that in the case of MSZP that figure is 60%!

Although as far as Fidesz’s popularity is concerned it is only now that there is a significant change for the worse, as far as general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs is concerned it has been noticeable for months. Between November and February more and more people, some 15%, have been feeling that the affairs of state are going in the wrong direction. By now more than 50% of the adult population are pessimistic concerning the future.

As far as the accomplishments of the government are concerned the news is bad for Viktor Orbán. Within three months 13% more people are dissatisfied with the Orbán government’s performance than before. Currently 56% of the people are dissatisfied.

I copied two graphs. The first one shows party preferences over time:


And the one below shows the people’s opinion of the Orbán government’s performance:

A cursory look of the first graph shows that MSZP support has been languishing at an anemic level. Not even dissatisfaction with the Orbán government is providing an uptick. The current leadership is trying to convince us that after such a huge defeat such a state of affairs is not unusual. In fact, they are happy that their support hasn’t shrunk further. By now, however, this excuse is sounding increasingly lame. I’m sure that Attila Mesterházy is a decent man who works very hard at keeping the fractious socialist party together, but the people I talked to all claim that with the current leadership the party will not be able to move out of its slump.

Today’s news is that Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition was admitted as one of the “platforms” of MSZP. The decision was unanimous. Mesterházy at last seems to have come around to Gyurcsány’s position that MSZP alone cannot fight this fight. Thus László Puch and most likely Tibor Szanyi lost. Mesterházy also said after the meeting of the board that internal squabbling is killing MSZP. The question now is how they can stop Szanyi from talking. A very difficult task because the man doesn’t know when to shut up. Moreover, he is one of the two MSZP MP’s who managed to get into parliament on their own. That gives him a certain amount of clout within the party.

As for Viktor Orbán and Fidesz I often wonder whether they have all their marbles. The world is crumbling around them while they are dreaming of moving the government to the Royal Castle, developing a museum district, and Orbán again is talking about moving himself into the Sándor Palace where Pál Schmitt currently has his offices. Almost like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

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The amount of time and money Orbán spends moving offices about is shocking. In his previous premiership, he moved the President’s residence and office around as well as his own, now he’s doing it again. He’s the prime minister of a country with the population the size of Michigan and an economy the size of Arkansas. He doesn’t need an office several times the size of the Oval Office in Washington. It is in the middle of a serious economic crisis and the last thing the country needs to be doing is spending money on renovating offices he himself had renovated less than 10 years ago! This distraction and lack of frugality is simply further evidence that Orban has long since gone off the conservative reservation!


The results didn’t surprise me, but the last paragraph did. I thought first Eva is kidding with moving the government to the Royal Castle. Do you think he will take the royal crown back with him, and while at it, put it on his head? I agree with your plural, Eva, I think they are loosing their marbles. There is not one person with a spine in the whole party, who can stand up to him. It is not Hungary’s interest what they serve. It is not patriotism. If they should investigate someone, it is the Fidesz and its members who wouldn’t say a word.

John T

Until the MSZP recognises that the voter is more important than the party, they will stay low in the polls. The time has come for Mesterházy to say to MSZP members / MPs that the electorate comes first – those who don’t agree can leave or be kicked out.

Eva S. Balogh
someone: “I think they are loosing their marbles.” Orbán didn’t seem to learn anything in the last eight years. He lost the elections in 2002 because the voters thought he was too aggressive. People started to be afraid of Fidesz. Now they are even worse in this respect because for some strange reason Orbán thinks that they lost the elections in 2002 because they were not tough enough. Some of the Fidesz politicians simply can’t handle power. They go overboard. Here is, for example, Lázár. He gets the most expensive Audi (S8, costs about 100,000 US dollars) and he keeps insisting that he needs this because he wants a car that doesn’t break down every minute. Eventually someone (Orbán?) told him to get rid of the car because it is an embarrassment. Using a luxury car goes against everything this party stood for in opposition. Orbán is also a pathological case. His extravagance between 1998 and 2002 contributed to his downfall. Does anyone remember a fleet of twelve cars he used as prime minister? Or his mania about the Sándor Palace? Or his chartered plane to the United States? He is back to his hobby horses: again he wants to… Read more »
John G

Glad somebody remembered that Sandor Palota was originally intended for Orban’s use before he lost the election. They had to find a use for it since it was nearly completed and so much money was spent on it that the newly formed government decided to make it the official residence of the President. I wonder why S.K. didn’t use that also in his phsychohistory profile of Orban. Very little speaks so clearly of Orban’s mind set as his fixation with the Holy Crown and things royal.
There is no doubt Orban suffers from an acute case of megalomania. Reminds me of what Stalin was alleged to have said to Rakosi about whom Hungarians would accept as their King. Rather, whom they wouldn’t. I suspect Orban would fit into the “not acceptable” category if push came to shove.

Odin's lost eye
I fear that the move by the ‘His Mightiness’ to the Sandor Palace will be a temporary affair. He will only occupy it whilst the new palace suitable for one who has (by decree) the total support of the nation, is being built. In view of the problems which Col Gadhafi is having, the new palace will have 5 sections and be surrounded by 3 very thick concrete walls in the form of a concentric castle. Each circle of walls will contain a barrack block for the various detachments of guards. The innermost wall will contain the Keep, the ‘residence’ and the ‘Atomgrad’. Ministers will meet the ‘Mighty One’ in the second circle and state banquets will be held in the outer circle. No non Hungarian will ever be allowed into the second circle. This new palace will be named for the Hungarian patron saint of winegrowers and innkeepers (penzio/csárda) . If the vintage has been good, the vines protected against damage and the inn keepers agreed that all their beds came up ‘to scratch’ (their customers did not have to bring their own bed-bugs, fleas etc), the saint is rewarded and his stone statue is sprinkled with muddy water.… Read more »

Yeah, I don’t understand why all these symbolically arrogant but otherwise useless moving decisions had to be made now. To be honest, I couldn’t care less where he works, I guess he’s trying to establish some Hungarian Downing street 10, but it just makes no sense now.
About the polls, everything has been said before in a much more concise manner than I could say them:
last few paragraphs: Are you actually campaigning for Gyurcsány?:) Seriously, you should get money for this:) (Joking)

Eva S. Balogh

Jano: “Are you actually campaigning for Gyurcsány?:) Seriously, you should get money for this:) (Joking)”
If I had to chose between the two I certainly would pick Gyurcsány over Orbán.


Yes, we got that for sure:)


I think any sane person would.
It just shows how effective the last few years of Fidesz black propaganda have been. Hardly anyone now supports MSzP – even some posters on this blog. Why? They probably can’t tell you, but they know the bastards did all sorts of bad things and are entirely to blame for Hungary being in “the state” it is.
I suspect Fidesz/Orbán’s lasting achievement will not be the “two thirds majority” victory of last year, or whatever God-awful mess they make of Hungary, but the fact that they destroyed the opposition so effectively.
And there, of course, lies the rub. It doesn’t matter how much Fidesz support declines, without an effective opposition they will still win every election. Who else is going to get elected – nincs pártya?
They broke the system because they thought they could mend it, but when it turns out that they can’t, we’ll just have a broken system – and no one else to mend it. A broken country with a mad government, that’s what Hungarians have to look forward to – for a long, long time.