The Hungarian government party has lost half its voters

Today two separate polls appeared on the party preferences of the Hungarian population: Tárki and Medián. Medián established its leading position among Hungarian pollsters when alone among all the pollsters it predicted in 2002 that, however narrowly, Fidesz would lose the elections. All the others came out with figures that gave a large lead to Viktor Orbán’s party. So, I will start with Medián.

HVG has a contract with Medián and therefore the firm’s results appear there first. In fact, if one goes to Medián’s website the detailed results are still not available. Here are some of the most important findings of the poll that was taken between November 11 and 15. It was a representative sample of 1,200 participants.

The mood of the country has shifted dramatically in the last month. During this period the percentage of people who consider that the country is heading in the wrong direction has grown from 69% to 78%. People’s euphoria after the elections has dissipated to almost the same level of dissatisfaction as before the elections in April 2010.

Only forty percent of the adult population would go out to vote if elections were held next Sunday. Forty-two percent of the voters simply cannot choose a party. That is a very high number. The last time Medián measured such indecision among the voters was in the fall 2001, just before the population rejected the governing Fidesz party at the elections. Even more interesting is that among those who claim that they have voted at every election and would vote now 19% cannot name a party they would be willing to support.

Among the voting age population by now only 26% would still vote for Fidesz. That means a 5% decrease in the last thirty days. This is about half of their support at the time of the elections. The number of those people satisfied with the performance of the Orbán government has been shrinking, but in the last month this slide in popularity dropped markedly, from 28% to 19%. This performance, if measured on a scale of one hundred, is translated into 30 points which is worse than the last assessment of the Bajnai government whose popularity stood at 36 points at the last poll before the elections. Moreover, there is an important difference. While the popularity of the Bajnai government showed an upward trend, the Orbán government’s popularity is steadily sinking.

Although Fidesz’s standing is anything but sterling, the other parties’ popularity is only about half that of Viktor Orbán’s party: MSZP 12%, Jobbik 12%, LMP 5%, and the new DK (Demokratikus Koalíció) 2%. Among those who say that they would definitely vote the situation is somewhat similar: Fidesz 45%, MSZP 21%, Jobbik 22%, LMP 6% and DK 4%.

Here is a graph that will help to put the changes into perspective. The graph depicts the party preferences of those who claim they would vote next Sunday:

 

So, as you can see, Jobbik has caught up with MSZP. Moreover, MSZP has lost some of its support since mid-October. Even if we combine the supporters of MSZP and DK the number doesn’t reach the level measured by Medián a month ago. So, for the time being at least, DK’s appearance hasn’t helped matters in socialist circles.

Here is a telling graph of the population’s assessment of the Orbán government’s performance:

 

The other polling firm that published its findings was Tárki. Their survey was conducted between November 10 and 15. According to Tárki’s pollsters Jobbik actually surpassed MSZP in popularity. According to them Fidesz’s support of 23% in the adult population hasn’t changed since October. (Compare that to Medián’s -5%.) MSZP, according to Tárki, lost 1% during the same time (11% to 10%). The number of undecided voters shrank from 50% to 48%. When it comes to voters who would definitely vote next Sunday Fidesz’s support shrank from 46% to 44% and MSZP from 22% to 20%. Tárki measured exactly the same degree of support for DK as did Medián. Tárki reported a fairly large drop among LMP supporters: 10% to 7% in the actively participating population.

All in all, the most important item is that Jobbik’s popularity is growing and MSZP, since the departure of the DK faction, has suffered further losses for which even the pretty decent 4% DK picked up in three weeks didn’t manage to compensate. Thus although the MSZP leadership might feel liberated that Gyurcsány and his friends are gone and they able to speak with one voice, the results are disappointing.

Meanwhile, Népszabadság reported today that 1,500 former MSZP members have joined DK already. One could say that this is not a large number considering that the MSZP leadership claims 32,000 card carrying members. The problem is, however, that this number might not be quite accurate. It seems that the party’s record keeping leaves something to be desired. According to Ferenc Gyurcsány–but naturally he cannot be entirely objective in this matter–the actual membership is about 15,000 and 9,000 of these voted for the changes he recommended during his negotiations with the party leadership. If that is the case, more “deserters” can be expected. But these 1,500 are only former MSZP members. By now the total membership is 4,000. According to László Varju, the party director, in all 176 individual electoral districts the party would be able to run even today. He claims that the party is especially strong in Szabolcs-Szatmár, Baranya, Veszprém, and Budapest.

For the time being, however, one must watch the extreme right which is at the moment neck to neck with MSZP. I’m also interested in the bi-election in the Budapest district where Gergely Karácsony (LMP) with 15% of the votes wouldn’t step aside in favor of Katalin Lévai (25%) claiming that even with such cooperation the Fidesz candidate cannot be defeated. I wouldn’t be surprised if Karácsony got fewer votes in the second round than in the first. People are getting tired of the opposition parties’ inability to pull together against the less and less popular Fidesz.

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Paul
Guest

Jobbik’s take on this:
http://www.hungarianambiance.com/2011/11/tarki-jobbik-is-ahead-of-socialists-and.html
By the by, I recommend a daily check on this site. It’s a fascinating read.

Gábor
Guest
Éva, actually the covergae of these polls (in the press) is too sensationalist, the headline numbers for Jobbik and Mszp hasn’t shifted signifcantly in the last months (especially in the case of Tárki, but Medián’s score for Mszp last month could easily be an outlier). As for mathetamtical statistics these are minor variations in a fairly small intervall, entirely inside the margin of error of the poll. It doesn’t necessarily means, Jobbik’s popularity is not growing, but – unfortunately – polls will confirm it only after a series of polls from the same pollster will support this claim. What is certainly significant is the changes in the mood of the electorate and Fidesz’s protracted decline – and the free fall of personal popularity ratings of politicians. (Unfortunately hvg.hu didn’t publish the negative ratings of parties.) Furthermore, but it still can be the normal variation of the poll – Tárki shows gradual decline of the non-voting electorate in the last three months, while Fidesz has lost from its support – probably, but really only probably – the first sign of opposition parties exerting a bit more seductive power on them. And unfortunately even Medián hasn’t polled how people see Bajnai’s government… Read more »
Paul
Guest
These poll results and trends need to be considered in the context of the changes to the electoral laws which will have become law before the next general election in 2014. First, the number of MPs will be nearly cut in half – from 396 to 199 (106 constituency plus 93 from the national list) . I am no psephologist, so I can’t explain this, but the consensus of opinion amongst analysts seems to be that this will favour Fidesz. Secondly, there will only be a single round of the election and the constituency ballots will be effectively first past the post. If the turnout is over 50%, the candidate gaining the highest number of votes wins (the votes cast for all the candidates are effectively wasted). This is the very system that we in the UK have been trying to get rid of for centuries. I’m not sure what happens if the turnout is under 50%, but I think the vote is rerun and the winner gets the seat, whatever the turnout. Again, this is thought to favour Fidesz. And, again, I don’t know enough to explain why, but remember Fidesz won all except one of the constituency seats… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Gábor: “- Tárki shows gradual decline of the non-voting electorate in the last three months, while Fidesz has lost from its support – probably, but really only probably – the first sign of opposition parties exerting a bit more seductive power on them.”
It would be nice if it were true. Otherwise, I really think that it is remarkable that DK did as well as they did considering that has been only a couple weeks that they have been really campaigning.

Vándorló
Guest

@ESBalogh: You failed to mention that Gyurcsány is the least popular (16%) of those detailed by HVG, even lower than Hoffman (17%) – I think that says it all for the prospect of using that piece of deadwood as a figurehead for any revival. One day you will have to face the fact that he is universally dispised and has been for 4 years. It is long past the time that you looked elsewhere.
And I can never tell why you rarely provide a direct link to your sources, particularly when they are so wantonly plundered: http://goo.gl/Ysf15

Member

Vandorlo, You are misleading the readers here. The poll you are referring to named “the 25 most recognized politicians popularity index”. Yes Gyurcsany is 25th form 25. If the list would of been reduced to 20 he would not be on it. If it would of contain 50, he would be the 25th. You must be a Fidesz friend with your logic. By the way Matolcsy, Schiffer, Varga, Pokorni, Rogan, Kosa, Orban and Schmitt lost way more in popularity in a month then Gyurcsany did. Why don’t you make a spreadsheet on that and analyze that for us to.
You really think Hungary’s biggest problem right now that Gyurcsany is 25th on the popularity list? lol

Member

Another thing that slipped Vandorlo’s mind is what we’d consider a light at the end of the tunnel. King Orban The 5th successfully worked himself down to 33%. This is by the way the not really popularity index as Vandorlo trying to sell it to you – it is the ratio of yes to the to the following question “would like to see this person holding an office”. Gyurcsany’s 17% versus Orban’s 33% isn’t bad. Anyway only 1 from 3 want’s the Dear Leader to lead.

vándorló
Guest

@Some1: Read “…of those detailed…” And the rest of your rejoiner underlines your brilliance. Congratulations.
@Mutt: I am selling nothing, I am stating the fact plain and simple: Gyurcsány has a recognition rating of 99% of whom 16% think well of him and his work. He is no pheonix waiting to rise from the ashes.
He is about as popular as Koka became. With good reason.
More than this, his rating has showed no sign of improvement for more than 4 years. Also, as one of the other commenters noted here a few days ago, Gyurcsány’s supporters are all of ESBalogh’s generation i.e. there is no future in them and they are only interested in their pensions and what more they can squeeze out of the productive workign population.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

The popularity rating of FIDESZ is as important as the opinion of a worm about who wrote the Merchant of Venice.
Fidesz are going to implement a new electoral law. One in which if you do not cast your vote, the law will say that you are content with the sitting member.(or the candidate ‘in lieu’).
Fidesz are going to outlaw the main opposition with their Communist Responsibility act.
The intention of Fidesz were written large before the last election but were ignored by the voters, but what choice did they have. Hungary has spoken.
They have thrown away the democratic principle and have created a new order of aristocracy to rule them. These persons will be above the law, taking whatever they want. The rest are now to be reduced to ‘Serfdom’ and woe betide anyone who even looks at one of the ‘new lords’.
The rule of law is finished. It will now be at the decision of the local Aristo and ultimately the whim of the ‘Mighty Victator’
My advice to Hungary is ‘Go home and eat cabbage’ – whilst you still have some!

Gábor
Guest
Paul, I’m sure the Fidesz guys was very thorough in gerrymandering, but I still wouldn’t be so depressed. Firstly, past experience – not only in Hungary – shows that parties can be very flexible when facing such practices from the government or even when they just realize they would have far better chances with cooperation. Look at the story of Solidarity Action, a conglomerate of splinter groups and minor parties in and outside of the Polish parliament between 1993 and 1997, established only months before the electiosn and wtill winning witha wide margin. Or the Slovak anti-Meciar coalition from 1997-1998. Those parties even had to establish a new, common party to compete and they did it for good reason. In this sense I think it is entirely up to the opposition to create a viable institutional alternative that they can simply split up after winning. If they won’t do it they can only blame themselves. (Of course the electorate can pressure them.) I hope it is true even more because the latest polls clearly shows that we are nearing to or even arrived to territory where it is not the Fidesz that can win the next election by virtue of… Read more »
Member
@ vándorló: Just because people are factual about the shortcoming (and there are plenty of those) of Fidesz, a party that throws away democratic principals on a whim, embraces nationalism, and does not take responsibility of its own actions, does not mean that someone embraces Gyurcsany. THis whole Gyurcsany mania is an other aversion created by Orban and kept up by the misguided. Let’s face it, if they would not put Gyurcsany on trial, if they would let the events unfold, if they stop this witchunt of commnist ghosts, what would you and Fidesz supporters would have left to fall back to focus on? THe real issues, and that is neither pleasant for you, for Orban, for Matolcsy, for Johnny Boy and for that matter for Magyar Nemzet. Bloomberg reported today that “Hungary will start an investigation to uncover the identity of people responsible for the “concentrated attacks” on the forint, Magyar Nemzet said, citing unidentified people close to the government.” So next to Gyurcsany there will be something else to keep them busy, if it is true. Can you imagine if they find out that any time Orban or Matolcsy made a comment lately or took some corrective actions,… Read more »
Joseph Simon
Guest

A taxi driver in Budapest told me once: ‘Uram’, no matter what we have here: a National, a Socialist or even a Jewish government, nothing will help this country. Hence the wild voting pattern, from MDF to MSZP, followed by FIDESZ, MSZP again and now FIDESZ. The emergence of the Jobbik is a sign of desperation. People are impatient, looking for simple and quick solutions. It is said that the one thing worse than communism is what comes after.

Paul
Guest

Wow – a sane post from JS.
Mind you, looking at the number of succesful Hungarian Jews over the last couple of centuries, perhaps a Jewish government wouldn’t be a bad idea?

Member

This is funny? Who is responsible for the devaluation of the Forint? Hmmm, let’s see .. why are investors shorting Hungarian bonds? Aha. They don’t trust the Hungarian government. Gotcha! Jail all of them (the government).
Joseph. Are you all right? I’m worried … 🙂

Andy
Guest

Hey Guys,
Gyurcsány is history in Hungary. It’s OK, that he can not digest this, but I thought, that Eva’s readers are old enough to see this.

Member

Andy: See what?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Andy: “Gyurcsány is history in Hungary. It’s OK, that he can not digest this, but I thought, that Eva’s readers are old enough to see this.”
I guess, they are intelligent enough and will wait and see. Considering that in three weeks DK is close to the minimum to get into parliament, I think that this is a fairly good beginning.

MaxQuality
Guest

i am not living in hungary.
intelligent gurcsany made sense, but like intelligent clinton, he has failed the country.
these guys were not born in families from a long line of politicians, and were tossed around by the few powerful.
we need well anchored leaders, with historical family names, good education, and dedication to public service.
since ferenc deak, no other hungarian could qualify.

Guest

Paul, this “Hungarianshittance” as I call it, is really funny – but on the other habd there obviously are a lot of people who read it or at least think like it.
Re Gyurcsany I agree with Vándorlo: He should leave the political stage or at least try to keep out of the spotlight and maybe work behind the scenes – too many people connect him with the old regime.
My only hope is the younger generation -they don’t care about all this crazy stuff that Fidesz produces, they are much more “thinking global” than you’d expect …
However it will take a long time for Hungary to catch up with the rest of Europe (or rather the advanced part of the EU).
I’ve written about it on pol.hu – sometimes I’m almost surprised by the modern thinking of , for example my wife’s children and their friends who visit us …
So there is hope for Hungary!
PS: That posting by Joe Simon was a real surprise, while JB is as usual – funny, but not for real.

Andy
Guest

Some1:your question is really funny :-)))))

Andy
Guest

Eva: GyF & OV can hand in hand go to hell. That would make my day…:-) I am afraid we need to lease Miklos Dzurinda from the slovaks… Anybody knows how much would be his daily rent?

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