Final polls before the Hungarian election tomorrow

This morning an editorial appeared in politics.hu by a former senior editor of the internet paper who is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Liverpool. The title of his opinion piece is “Forget rigged elections, Fidesz will win because there is no viable alternative.” The core of his argument is that with the exception of Tímea Szabó “the top four politicians are all from the Socialists’ eight year corruption run.” He is not the only one who is convinced that Hungarian politics needs an entirely new cast of characters. András Schiffer of LMP, for example, just yesterday announced that “voting for Gyurcsány is voting for Orbán.” I guess he is offering himself as the only pristine Hungarian politician of the future.

I think it would be high time for these people to learn that one cannot just produce brand new, ready-made politicians out of thin air. One of the handicaps of the first Hungarian democratic government of József Antall was that it was made up entirely of people with no political experience. The other strongly held notion is that just because the leading politicians of the Unity Alliance held office prior to 2010 they are forever unelectable. They should simply disappear, never to be seen or heard of again. I wonder where the Unity Alliance would be standing if they had obliged. I would guess somewhere close to where LMP is today.

I also doubt that the problem of the opposition is that they can offer no viable alternative. If that were the case, why was it necessary for the government and Fidesz to do everything in their power to prevent the opposition from delivering that nonexistent message to the electorate? Why do they need the votes of Hungarians from Romania where, according to the latest poll taken in the Partium, areas closest to the Hungarian-Romanian border, 66% of the voters are Fidesz sympathizers, 13% would vote for Jobbik,  and only 2% for the Unity Alliance? And why does Fidesz need an electoral law that dramatically reduces the democratic opposition’s chances?

Practically all the English- and German-language articles I read are certain of an overwhelming Fidesz victory. Their predictions are based on the numerous public opinion polls that have appeared in the last few months. By now there are mighty few people who believe in the possibility of victory for the democratic opposition. But some suggest that the results will be closer than current polls indicate. They are convinced that in the last four years the political fear that Hungarians were accustomed to during pre-democratic times returned. People who were always somewhat suspicious of poll takers by now are genuinely fearful that the information they share with the pollsters will end up at Fidesz headquarters and that soon enough they or their relatives will lose their jobs as teachers, doctors, or civil servants. Or, if they are small businessmen, that they will no longer receive government orders. Unity Alliance activists claim that they frequently meet people who actually lied to the pollsters because of their fears of the present ruling party. If the final election results are substantially different from the generally predicted ones, perhaps there is something to this explanation.

We may never know how many people misled the pollsters, but we do know that it is very difficult to convince people to answer their questions. Reluctance to participate in a survey is not a new phenomenon, but lately the polling companies are in real trouble. In order to find 1,000 willing participants they have to canvass about three times that number, sometimes even more. Surely, this fact says something about the Hungarian population’s present psyche.

Unity Alliance activists report full houses at their gatherings. They claim that their tables, set up alongside Fidesz posts, have long lines of interested people while Fidesz activists are not at all busy. This description might be a reflection of their bias and wishful thinking but one thing is sure: this morning  the square in front of Debrecen’s Great Church was not even half full during an event Fidesz organized as the last, triumphant stop in Viktor Orbán’s campaign. Is it possible that Fidesz voters have also become apathetic? Are they possibly disappointed? Or perhaps too sure of a Fidesz victory?

But let’s return briefly to the two latest polls. Medián shows unusually high percentage of committed voters (62%), larger than in 2002 or 2006. If these people actually go and vote, that fact itself might help the Unity Alliance, which benefits from high turnout. On the other hand, it was highly disturbing that 2% of these committed voters actually opted for the “Együtt 2014 Párt,” which was created to confuse voters. It is especially easy to mix up the two parties since Együtt 2014 Párt occupies the sixteenth place on the ballot while the Unity Alliance in which Együtt 2014-PM is listed is seventeenth. The Zöldek Pártja (Party of the Greens) received 1% of the sample’s votes, most likely from people who actually wanted to vote for LMP.

szavazo fulke

Ipsos, although it predicts a large Fidesz victory, also saw signs that confuse the issue. For example, it is very difficult to judge what the voters will actually do once they are in the voting booth. For example, there are 250,000 Fidesz supporters who think that they might vote for Jobbik while about 100,000 Jobbik voters think they might support Fidesz after all. There might also be some last-minute changes within the anti-Orbán forces. 150,000 Unity Alliance supporters are contemplating switching to LMP and a goodly number of current LMP supporters are thinking about voting for Unity after all. About 10% of the electorate is still undecided and another 10% refuses to divulge. Endre Hann of Medián also points out in his article that one must keep in mind that in the by-elections the opposition did considerably better than in 2010.

And finally, those who are keeping fingers crossed for the democratic opposition call attention to what happened to Slovak prime minister Robert Fico who a week ago was still leading in the polls by a margin of 10%. The next day he lost his bid to become president to a newcomer to politics, Andrej Kiska, a businessman, and not by a small margin. Kiska received almost 60% of the votes against 41% for Fico.

It would be a miracle if something like that were to happen in Hungary tomorrow, but there is a possibility that the Fidesz victory will not be so overwhelming as everybody thinks. As a Hungarian commentator said this morning, if Fidesz won with only a simple as opposed to a two-thirds majority, under the circumstances it would actually mean a victory for the opposition. Tomorrow, after all, might be a more interesting day than the current polls indicate. Let’s hope so.

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oneill
Guest
oneill
April 5, 2014 5:15 pm

OK, most of you who read my ramblings on here will realize that most myself and Ms oneill hate everything that Orban and his mafia stand for.

But she is struggling tomorrow about who to vote for; the only reason that she will vote is because she is scared that someone from the Right will steal her vote if she doesn’t.

Seriously, she 100% believes that her vote could be stolen by the fascists (Fidesz/Jobbik, same poison) and that is the only reason she will turn up and vote because she doesn’t want to give them any more credibility than they already have.

But no one from the democratic side fills her or me with any confidence whatsoever that they have the guts to 100% cleanse Hungary of corruption/ nepotism or incompetence.
She’ll vote for the team that most stands the chance of defeating Orban and his oligarchs.
That is not enough.

Member
April 5, 2014 5:35 pm

Whoever thinks that the Unity Alliance is not a real ethical and practical alternative to Hungary’s current gangster government has either lost his ethical bearings completely or has fallen into the thrall of the Fidesz FUD that floods the media and dominates the streets. The scale of corruption and incompetence of the current government so far eclipses any post-Soviet government misdeeds in Hungary that they are incommensurable. Dr. Csipke should be deeply ashamed of himself — and in due time, he will be; but too late for him to have said anything useful toward save Hungary from the abyss into which it is hurtling.

andy - Kormanyváltás - y got my vote
Guest

The party most likely to be able to gather the largest block of votes is KORMANYVÁLTÁS.

Tom’a’rrow I go and make a cross for these folks where I need to in order to oust the current nutcase from the despicable position in which he is commandeering the place.

ANY group democratic and considerate of others will do.

Kormányváltás is more democratic, reasonable, considerte and better organized than any other group wanting a change.

I dont want to lose the WEST now that we finally have them FULLY on our side.

Please dont commit hara-kiri.

Vote for KORMANYVÁLTÁS on any appropriate question on the voting slip. That way you are maximizing chances for a reasonable change. The only way to go !

Member
April 5, 2014 5:51 pm

(Gabor Simon’s misdeeds, even if the worst of the charges proves true, are traffic offences compared to the colossal abominations of Fidesz. And Gyurcsany is guilty of nothing except telling the truth, in harmlessly colorful language. That he is the “greatest object of hate for many” in Hungary has nothing whatsoever to do with truth or justice but with the shameful effectiveness of Fidesz’s foul and cynical mud-slinging tactics.)

Member
April 5, 2014 6:00 pm
oneill : OK, most of you who read my ramblings on here will realize that most myself and Ms oneill hate everything that Orban and his mafia stand for. But she is struggling tomorrow about who to vote for; the only reason that she will vote is because she is scared that someone from the Right will steal her vote if she doesn’t. Seriously, she 100% believes that her vote could be stolen by the fascists (Fidesz/Jobbik, same poison) and that is the only reason she will turn up and vote because she doesn’t want to give them any more credibility than they already have. But no one from the democratic side fills her or me with any confidence whatsoever that they have the guts to 100% cleanse Hungary of corruption/ nepotism or incompetence. She’ll vote for the team that most stands the chance of defeating Orban and his oligarchs. That is not enough. Not only can the United Opposition possibly be worse than Fidesz, but it could not possibly be anywhere near as bad. (Only Jobbik could be worse.) So if voters were (a) decent and (b) rational, this would be an overwhelming landslide for the United Opposition —… Read more »
Member
April 5, 2014 6:02 pm

typo above: Not only can the United Opposition not possibly be worse…

Member
April 5, 2014 6:03 pm

and LMP should be deeply ashamed for having split the vote instead of joined the United Opposition,

Kirsten
Guest
Kirsten
April 5, 2014 6:07 pm
In current circumstances, people should not search for an Hungarian politician who can “cleanse” Hungary. Impossible, out of too many reasons (including: what does “clean” mean in Hungarian circumstances, do people share ideas about it, how can it be done if most people are used to it on a small scale also etc.). What has to be managed to do is to open the political space again and to make people willing to engage themselves in more than thanking Orban on state TV and repeating that utility prices are everything. Participation and a vote for Együtt/MSzP etc. does not mean that one supports everything that they do and everybody who runs for them. It is (at best) a start of a longer journey towards democracy, and voting (and mediocre politicians and voters) are part of that. The current choice of politicians might be disappointing but better ones will not emerge out of the blue but only within a more open space and people who engage themselves and become politically educated. That is why, these elections are not about confidence in people who could cleanse Hungary from incompetence but about giving people back some more open political opportunities. In more mature… Read more »
An
Guest
An
April 5, 2014 6:21 pm

I think this is going to be a lot closer than most people think.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan
April 5, 2014 6:24 pm

The new, official, revisionist rehabilitation of the Horthy era has been mainly about legitimising autocracy and extremism – and voting for such. Gloomy Sunday, therefore.

Kirsten
Guest
Kirsten
April 5, 2014 6:26 pm

An, with all the tricks and “votes” through e-mail? I am not convinced that we will actually know how people have really voted.

Paul
Guest
April 5, 2014 6:32 pm

Surely if people are scared to tell pollsters that they are not voting Fidesz, they will also be too scared not to vote Fidesz? After all, the ‘logic’ that convinces people that Fidesz have detailed access to poll data, should also convince them that Fidesz will know how they vote.

After all, the government runs the election, and who are the government?

tappanch
Guest
tappanch
April 5, 2014 6:42 pm

I used
http://www.valasztasirendszer.hu/mandatum/
with the following parameters

Scenario 1:
Domestic votes: 5.50 million: Fidesz 38%, Opposition: 30%, Jobbik: 25%, LMP: 4%
Transylvanian and other votes: 0.17 million: Fidesz 85%, Jobbik 15%

I got Fidesz = 72+35= 107
Opposition: 22+31= 53
Jobbik: 12+27= 39

seats.

Fidesz would have silent 2/3 with Jobbik with a combined 63% of the popular vote

Scenario 2:
Fidesz: 34%, Opposition: 32%, Jobbik: 30%, LMP: 4%

Fidesz: 47+33= 80
Opposition: 29+31= 60
Jobbik: 30+29= 59

We’ll see.

tappanch
Guest
tappanch
April 5, 2014 6:46 pm

I am not sure this calculator is good enough.

If I give equal, 32% domestic percentages to Fidesz, Opposition and Jobbik,

it gives Jobbik 69 seats, while Opposition and Fidesz 65 seats each.

Paul
Guest
April 5, 2014 6:53 pm
PS – Orbán was here in Debrecen today. Must have looked good on TV, the day before the vote – thousands of adoring Fideszniksz applauding the Dear Leader. When we flew in, it took nearly an hour to get through passport control, they were writing entries manually into a log, as well as using the computer system – everything scrutinised in detail, and not a smile or an unnecessary word. It felt just like trying to get into Hungary in the old days. Normally Debrecen is a sleepy backwater of an airport, where the only delay is trying to get out of the car park, so this was quite a shock. I hope this was juts extra security for the Dear Leader’s visit and not a new ‘normality’. Driving from the airport into town, we actually saw a prominently displayed opposition poster – and none for anyone else, not even any of those ‘isn’t the government doing well?!’ Fidesz posters. Not quite what I was expecting. As for tomorrow, my prediction is another two-thirds majority, Jobbik holding up, LMP disappearing, and the opposition getting horribly squeezed, perhaps even into third place. And let’s not kid ourselves, Orbán would win hands… Read more »
Ivan
Guest
Ivan
April 5, 2014 7:03 pm

Paul is right. Fidesz is extremely popular in Hungary, even amongst the highly educated, even amongst the extremely poor and the newly poor. He has carefully crafted a personality-cult image of Christian nationalism that transcends all else – and is an even bigger factor than the equally carefully crafted fictions concerning Gyurcsany and the opposition. We do ourselves and the country no favours by continuing to pretend that there is any major opposition to Fidesz and we would probably do well to start recognising the danger that such significant support represents.

Paul
Guest
April 5, 2014 7:05 pm

This from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26871728

There’s no by-line, but it doesn’t read quite like the usual pro-Orbán nonsense from Thorpe.

Typical BBC ‘balance’. Makes me wonder how they reported Hitler – Jew hating, dictatorial maniac, OK, but also a thoroughly nice chap.

Stewie
Guest
Stewie
April 5, 2014 7:13 pm
The article is spot on. The left is not a viable alternative. Even if they win they have no ability to govern, only to plunge the country into chaos. I used to vote for the Socialists (in 2002 and 2006) and I believed what they said. But after 2006 they started saying things like: “We lied day, evening and night” “We used hundreds of tricks that you don’t have to know about” “We just pretended to govern, in reality we were only concerned about election victory” (Ferenc Gyurcsany) “With a mentally crazed Bolshevik billionare like Ferenc Gyurcsany it is not possible to build a future” “Ferenc Gyurcsany’s place is either in a mental asylum in Lipót, or the supermax prison Csillag” (Tibor Szanyi) “I will be Prime Minister within a year” (Gordon Bajnai 2013 – he is not even candidate for PM) “We didn’t have anything to do with the forged Baja video” (Attila Mesterhazy – turns out it was given to HVG in the MSZP headquarters) I could go on but the point is the same, whether you think about the Simon MSZP corruption case, or the Zuschlag case or the Hunvald case or the Hagyó case. Corruption is… Read more »
Mutt
Guest
Mutt
April 5, 2014 7:27 pm

Meanwhile in the District …

Our correspondent Mutt Damon is reporting from the Hungarian Embassy, in Washington DC, USA.

I voted against Orban. Numero 17! It felt good.

It was all quite. I was there noonish. Paper sign directed me to the back entrance where Colonel Michael Kovats’ dramatic horseback death sculpture is. Or “Colon l”, because the “e” is missing.

Lady at the desk was very nice. She asked me the county. She had paper lists with names. When she realized it’s Bekes, grabbed a marker and casually crossed out a name on the individual candidate list. “Sorry, this person withdrew from the race”. “No problem” I went. “I’ll have less problems deciding in the booth!”

The sheets are enormous. 20is parties on each. You can wrap a whole lunch for a family picnic with these. Or it would last in college dorm … never mind.

I checked the pen. I drew a line on a paper I brought from home, then I put it away. I wanted to know if the ink disappears. You know. Invisible ink. Duh!

We will win tomorrow! Go 17 !!!

Member
April 5, 2014 7:29 pm
Someone using the false name Stewie write : The article is spot on. The left is not a viable alternative. Even if they win they have no ability to govern, only to plunge the country into chaos. I used to vote for the Socialists (in 2002 and 2006) and I believed what they said. But after 2006 they started saying things like: “We lied day, evening and night” “We used hundreds of tricks that you don’t have to know about” “We just pretended to govern, in reality we were only concerned about election victory” (Ferenc Gyurcsany) “With a mentally crazed Bolshevik billionare like Ferenc Gyurcsany it is not possible to build a future” “Ferenc Gyurcsany’s place is either in a mental asylum in Lipót, or the supermax prison Csillag” (Tibor Szanyi) “I will be Prime Minister within a year” (Gordon Bajnai 2013 – he is not even candidate for PM) “We didn’t have anything to do with the forged Baja video” (Attila Mesterhazy – turns out it was given to HVG in the MSZP headquarters) I could go on but the point is the same, whether you think about the Simon MSZP corruption case, or the Zuschlag case or the… Read more »
Mutt
Guest
Mutt
April 5, 2014 7:56 pm

Stewie :
But I offer a challange to anyone who is interested. I will never vote for MSZP, they are too corrupt, incompentent, misareble for me and I also feel betrayed by them as a former voter. But present any good argument for any of the remaining parties (Fidesz, LMP, Jobbik), and If I find a decent argument I will vote for that party.
But never for MSZP, never again.

Challenge accepted.

Destruction of democratic institution, corruption supported by legislation (Orban’s ex-roommate get’s the 90% of government appropriations), screwing the poor – enriching the rich, indoctrination in the education, bleeding out health care, cutting the higher education funding into half, spreading extra-right views, antisemitism, 85% national debt, stadium mania, personality cult, kulturkampf, falsification of history, mass emigration, selling the country to the Russians, attack on the judiciary, gerrymandering …

… and lastly let me quote Gabriella Selmeczi, Fidesz spokesperson: “JUST BECAUSE”.

Did I win?

Look dude. We get it. You are not an MSZP fun. But why the drama?

Mutt
Guest
Mutt
April 5, 2014 7:58 pm

MSZP fan … not fun.

Borat
Guest
Borat
April 5, 2014 9:05 pm

My predictions are for the party list votes:

Fidesz: 38%
Unity Alliance: 36%
Jobbik: 19%
LMP: 6%
Others: 1% (entirely lost votes)

Of course these figures will translate into very different actual mandate numbers.

But I think Fidesz will have the necessary 2/3s with Jobbik, with whom it has been anyway working mighty fine in municipalities all over Hungary.

Expect more German Memorial statues, Új Szinhaz, Veritas and the like. Jobbik will also get its fare share of Paks 2, especially as the Russians will also push for their protegee. And if the Russians “suggest” something, you do not want to resist them.

bbbooorrraaattt
Guest
bbbooorrraaattt
April 5, 2014 9:07 pm

My predictions are for the party list votes:

Fidesz: 38%
Unity Alliance: 36%
Jobbik: 19%
LMP: 6%
Others: 1% (entirely lost votes)

Of course these figures will translate into very different actual mandate numbers.

But I think Fidesz will have the necessary 2/3s with Jobbik, with whom it has been anyway working mighty fine in municipalities all over Hungary.

Expect more German Memorial statues, Új Szinhaz, Veritas and the like. Jobbik will also get its fare share of Paks 2, especially as the Russians will also push for their protegee. And if the Russians “suggest” something, you do not want to resist them.

Go Trabi Go
Guest
Go Trabi Go
April 5, 2014 9:27 pm

It’s funny that 444.hu and cink.hu are not allowed to attend the Fidesz campaign party at Bálna (whale), the giant and totally empty shopping mall right on the Danube.

They were initially allowed to attend, but then their invitations were revoked citing ludicrous reasons.

Of course, origo.hu and index.hu may attend (not to mention Magyar Nemzet, Heti Válasz etc).

Translate: origo and index are anyway servile (index.hu is owned by a Fidesz-oligarch and origo.hu is slowly moving towards Fidesz which will likely acquire it in the near future) and Fidesz knows how to control them. Come to think of it, Index was not rushing to write about Antal Rogan’s riches, to say the least.

444.hu and cink.hu (which is staunchly anti-Left, by the way) are just loose cannons and nobody likes those.

Member
April 5, 2014 10:00 pm
Mutt : Meanwhile in the District … Our correspondent Mutt Damon is reporting from the Hungarian Embassy, in Washington DC, USA. I voted against Orban. Numero 17! It felt good. It was all quite. I was there noonish. Paper sign directed me to the back entrance where Colonel Michael Kovats’ dramatic horseback death sculpture is. Or “Colon l”, because the “e” is missing. Lady at the desk was very nice. She asked me the county. She had paper lists with names. When she realized it’s Bekes, grabbed a marker and casually crossed out a name on the individual candidate list. “Sorry, this person withdrew from the race”. “No problem” I went. “I’ll have less problems deciding in the booth!” The sheets are enormous. 20is parties on each. You can wrap a whole lunch for a family picnic with these. Or it would last in college dorm … never mind. I checked the pen. I drew a line on a paper I brought from home, then I put it away. I wanted to know if the ink disappears. You know. Invisible ink. Duh! We will win tomorrow! Go 17 !!! Good for you Mutt!!!!!! Go 17! ANy decent person at this… Read more »
Member
April 5, 2014 10:09 pm
Stewie : The article is spot on. The left is not a viable alternative. Even if they win they have no ability to govern, only to plunge the country into chaos. I used to vote for the Socialists (in 2002 and 2006) and I believed what they said. But after 2006 they started saying things like: “We lied day, evening and night” “We used hundreds of tricks that you don’t have to know about” “We just pretended to govern, in reality we were only concerned about election victory” (Ferenc Gyurcsany) “With a mentally crazed Bolshevik billionare like Ferenc Gyurcsany it is not possible to build a future” “Ferenc Gyurcsany’s place is either in a mental asylum in Lipót, or the supermax prison Csillag” (Tibor Szanyi) “I will be Prime Minister within a year” (Gordon Bajnai 2013 – he is not even candidate for PM) “We didn’t have anything to do with the forged Baja video” (Attila Mesterhazy – turns out it was given to HVG in the MSZP headquarters) I could go on but the point is the same, whether you think about the Simon MSZP corruption case, or the Zuschlag case or the Hunvald case or the Hagyó case.… Read more »
Member
April 5, 2014 10:10 pm

Go Trabi Go :
It’s funny that 444.hu and cink.hu are not allowed to attend the Fidesz campaign party at Bálna (whale), the giant and totally empty shopping mall right on the Danube.
They were initially allowed to attend, but then their invitations were revoked citing ludicrous reasons.

because there is no censorship in Hungary.

Kim Lane Scheppele
Guest
Kim Lane Scheppele
April 5, 2014 10:38 pm
For those of you voting or poll-watching tomorrow, here are some things to look for: 1. Consulates and embassies are rejecting Hungarians with permanent residence but living abroad who come with the “wrong” forms of identification. The law on election procedure says only THAT you have to prove your identity, not HOW you must prove it. Apparently consulates have been given a very specific list of forms of ID that they are allowed to accept, a list which is not public. If you have been rejected for improper documentation, you should file a complaint with the Election Commission because the election officials should not be able to use a secret list to reject your identification papers. To file a complaint, see the procedures outlined in Chapter XII of the Electoral Procedure Law here: http://valasztas.hu/hu/ogyv2014/768/768_1_3.html . (There’s also a double standard here. New citizens without permanent residence in Hungary don’t have to show any ID at all when they vote by mail.) 2. Many districts have a lot of new voters. Two kinds are of particular concern when it comes to potential election fraud: a) people with new citizenship who suddenly have Hungarian addresses (lakcim cards). There were 82,000 such new… Read more »
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