Another poll, another loss for Fidesz ahead of a by-election

Three new Medián polls were released today. One is the company’s monthly poll of political support for Hungarian parties. The second is a survey of the population’s assessment of the financial disaster caused by irresponsible management at a number of brokerage firms. And third is a survey of the population’s opinion about the government’s decision to close retail stores on Sundays.

I was looking forward to Medián’s survey of Hungarian political opinion at the end of March because of the forthcoming by-election in the Tapolca-Ajka-Sümeg district that, according to some commentators, Jobbik has a good chance of winning. In addition, it was about two weeks ago that Ipsos came out with a poll indicating a spectacular growth in Jobbik support in the last few months. I’m relieved to see a second poll with a different set of results.

Here are the main findings of the political poll. Since the end of February Fidesz has lost another 3% of its support. The standing of the opposition parties, however, hasn’t changed, with the exception of DK, which gained 2% among committed voters. People’s opinion of the government’s performance is low. Only 29% think that the third Orbán government is doing a good job. In fact, a majority of the people today think that the Bajnai government’s performance was better than that of the Orbán government in the last five years.

orange = total population beige = eligible voters blue = committed voters

orange = total population
beige = eligible voters
blue = committed voters

Jobbik’s popularity has remained constant over the last year: 15% of the population are Jobbik supporters. But the composition of the Jobbik camp might have changed, since 18% of current Jobbik supporters claim that they voted for Fidesz a year ago. The only thing I found surprising in the survey was the relative zeal of Fidesz voters: 60% of them say that they would definitely go and vote if the elections were held next Sunday. This figure seems high to me in light of the recent Veszprém election where one reason for the devastating defeat of the Fidesz candidate was the refusal of Fidesz sympathizers to go to the polls.

When it comes to the financial scandals, the Orbán government has been trying to pin the bankruptcies and their consequences on the socialist-liberal governments. But it is difficult to blame Péter Medgyessy, Ferenc Gyurcsány, or Gordon Bajnai for the bankruptcies after five years of Fidesz supervision of financial institutions. Although government communication hammers the “socialist” theme from morning till night, the people aren’t buying it. The majority of the population (56%) find the current government completely or partly responsible for the situation that developed in the last few months. Only 17% of the population believe that the socialists are largely or completely responsible for the collapse of Quaestor and other brokerage firms.

The results of Medián’s survey on the Sunday closing of retail stores are, for the most part, similar to those of Ipsos on which I already reported. But the Ipsos survey did not break the data down by party sympathies. Medián does, and it looks as if even Fidesz voters are split on the issue (48% for it, 45% against, 7% undecided). The majority of Jobbik voters oppose the new law, and an overwhelming number (70%) of socialist and liberal voters are against it. And 75% of those who at present have no party preferences would like to have the stores open. This last figure is especially ominous for the government party.

Back to the Tapolca-Ajka-Sümeg election. This election has become a litmus test for all three major parties. If Fidesz loses (and it is their race to lose), a further erosion of voters will be inevitable. If Jobbik wins, it will be a sign of the growing acceptance of the party, able at last to send a representative to parliament who was elected in his own right. If the MSZP-DK candidate wins, it will strengthen the left’s image as a force that can replace the Fidesz government. After all, this would be the third by-election in which the candidate of the left wins. So, all three parties are putting a lot of work into the campaign.

Fidesz seems to be the most active. Practically all important Fidesz politicians have showed up in the district and, as far as we know, Viktor Orbán himself will make an appearance in Tapolca, perhaps tomorrow. Fidesz at last seems to taking Jobbik seriously, with both László Kövér and János Lázár calling Jobbik a Nazi party. But it is difficult to attack Jobbik in any detail because Fidesz has moved so far to the right in order to compete with Jobbik that the two parties’ programs are almost identical by now. Because of Orbán’s pro-Russian policy, it is practically impossible for Fidesz politicians to accuse Jobbik of being too close to Russia or to claim that Russia is financing the party which is most likely the case.

According to local gossip, Fidesz ordered a survey that showed a massive Fidesz defeat on Sunday, which may explain László Kövér’s remark that the party didn’t have a critical stake in this election. In the last few days, however, the Fidesz leadership must have decided to try to reverse the situation. This is a risky undertaking. If Orbán goes to Tapolca and Sümeg as promised, makes rousing speeches, and Fidesz still loses, this would further undermine the prime minister’s popularity and the belief in his superior political talent.

At the moment it is difficult to predict what Fidesz will do in the next three to four days. As of this morning, it looked as if Zoltán Fenyvesi, the Fidesz candidate, would take part in a three-man debate on Olga Kálmán’s Egyenes beszéd tonight, but in the last minute he cancelled. This is a surprising move given the party’s earlier decision to show him as a fighting candidate who does not hide from the public as his counterpart was ordered to do in Veszprém.

Parties and supporters of the parties on the left believe that the real contenders are the MSZP-DK candidate, Ferenc Pad, and Jobbik’s Lajos Rig. Jobbik leaders are convinced that the campaign is really only about Fidesz and Jobbik. I have no idea what will happen on Sunday, I can only keep fingers crossed.

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After
Guest
Orban apparently don’t want to attack Jobbik (it’s another question that there isn’t any relevant policy differences between the parties). This is in line with Fidesz’ strategy in April 2014 too when Fidesz feared that its own voters who naturally sympathize with Jobbik would get offended. (Plus it’s my feeling that Jobbik is a creation of Fidesz and thus its leaders are unable to commit infanticide. The political killer instinct doesn’t work for some reason.) Other than than the nazi (nyilas párt) reference I haven’t read about real attacks against Jobbik. Knowing the district quite well I can assure the readers nobody in Tapolca or in the neighboring villages cares the slightest about whether Jobbik is called arrow-cross, Nazi, anti-semitic, pro-Russian party, these are not issues voters care about (I don’t know Ajka, the main town of the district very much, it’s more left-wing). I think the votes will be very split, but in any case my bet is that the right wing will be almost twice as popular as the left-wing. Remember that the united left-wing needs to prevail over the most popular party of the right-wing by some 7-8 points (and this does not even account for Orban’s… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Okay, I’m going to look like an asshole for again correcting (or attempting to correct) the teacher.

There is a fundamental difference between percentage points (or just points) and percentages. Referring to the poll results, all figures are percentages [százalékok].

Using the Fidesz figures at the top, the difference between the orange figure [24%] and the blue figure [40%] is 16 percentage points (or just 16 points), not 16%.

It is a basic error to call the one thing (points) by the other’s name (percentages). The values are not equal.

Éva uses a mix of points and percentages in her post. The smaller numbers are most likely points. The rest is percentages.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Paul
Guest
exTor’s comments, whilst being accurate in general, are most unfair when applied to Éva’s post. The confusing of percentages with percentage points is very common (I can remember a political party in the UK many years ago claiming that inflation had gone up 33%, when it had risen from 3% to 4%, whilst their opponents said it had only gone up one percentage point – both were of course right). But it’s not a confusion that Éva is guilty of in this post. Thee only place where she could be accused of this is in the third paragraph, where she writes “Fidesz has lost another 3% of its support”. Technically exTor is correct here and Éva is guilty of confusing percentages with percentage points, but I doubt if one single reader misunderstood what Éva meant. Also, it could be argued that the base figure that Éva is using is the total Fidesz support, not the previous figure – in which case, it IS “another 3%”. But where I do take issue with Éva’s use of percentages to illustrate her analysis of these polls, is that she doesn’t always compare like with like. For instance, in the same paragraph she compares… Read more »
Reality Check
Guest

Really, another post hijacked by a trivial usage issue that has no effect on the clarity of Eva’s writing. She puts out one of these every day and they are a pleasure to read. Even if Eva made a few substantive errors I would pay it no mind.

Argueing about English translations of Hungarian texts is important to the substance of this blog. The two recent comments about English usage are trivial and distract from the substance of her posts.

I’d like to know what if anything the democratic opposition is doing to break out of the stagnation in the polls. Is there a strategy? It’s a target rich environment. No shortage of oppurtunities to build support.

Webber
Guest

Hear, hear!

Kaya
Guest
There is no strategy at all. They all wait for the pendulum to swing back. Also MSZP is waiting the point when Fidesz gets a little worried and include them in their corrupt deals in earnest. MSZPniks here and there have been included of course, but those were small crumbles, they wait for the big dough. Nobody at MSZP has any ideas, ideology, values, nobody believes in anything — MSZPniks are solely there to get their cut of the deals. Voters sense this lack of values and beliefs and so are afraid to vote for MSZP because they naturally sense that the looting would continue, only in a ‘dumb’ non-centralized way so they would even get busted soon as is the case with leftists. You can’t have a party without values and ideas because activists need to be compensated, if it’s not enthusiasm than it’s inevitably about money (corruption) and voters deep down know this. Orban has many ideas to purchase voters such as cutting VAT on basic items from 27% to 12% (which is anyway demanded by those who suffer from black imports and VAT fraud abd at about 12% the tax income would be the same as before… Read more »
buddy
Guest

A few days ago MSZP’s Tibor Szanyi posted a photo of female genitalia on his Facebook page, in the same picture with (of all things) a Bible.

I wasn’t offended or anything, but it did make me wonder: what in the world was going through his head? Is this really how MSZP is going to attract people to their party? Is this going to win votes for the left-wing? Is this even a consideration when he does dumb things like this? I guess not.

Ironically, it was Facebook that sanctioned Szanyi by taking down his page on their site. (A bit later it came back up again, sans the nude photo.)

Did MSZP sanction Szanyi at all? Not to my knowledge.

Maybe Szanyi can’t make MSZP’s reputation any worse, so it probably doesn’t matter anyway.

Egér
Guest

Szanyi is the very embodiement of MSZP. He is a drunkard who got his job as a result of a usual stupid MSZP compromise. He is before retirement and he got this well-paying tax free but not too demanding job as compensation for leaving domestic politics. He was quite popular in the 13th district in Pest, but it’s actually like 12th district of Buda for Fidesz — even a monkey could have been elected if put forward by MSZP.

MSZP has no internal or even external media policy/strategy whatsoever and has no effective means to police its people to stay on message/style. This anarchy of incompetent and ridiculous people perfectly represents the state in which MSZP is in. It’s hopeless. MSZP will be third in Tapolca and it will underscore the hopelessness of the left wing in rural areas.

No wonder that practically no sane young politician entered MSZP in the last 25 years (unless they wanted to live from shady backroom deals with Fidesz, such as Zsolt Molnar or Csaba Horvath).

petofi
Guest

Effective opposition?
No profit in it.
End of discussion for integrity-challenged, Hungarian, politicos…

Guest

What Kaya hinted at would of course be a very strong point in favour of Fidesz – a VAT rate of 12% might mean that prices for basic stuff like food became at least 10% lower. Btw in Germany the VAT for food has been at 7% now for many years while the regular rate rose from 14 to 19% (originally the reduced rate was exactly half the normal rate).
Anyway imho food prices have been lower here in Hungary in the last months – maybe because people have not enough money to spend and competition is stronger?

To lower VAT maybe a year before the next parliament elections might be a stroke of genius for Orbán – if he can stay in power that long …

Guest

Re the by-election:
On our way back from our Easter holiday (a really wonderful spa in Western Hungary – not Hévíz where we live …) we passed through Sümeg and some villages belonging to the Tapolca district where we saw a lot of election advertising on the electricity poles – mainly for the Jobbik candidate, just a few for the left, none at all for Fidesz.
Maybe Fidesz had special places to put their ads?

Edgar
Guest

Sümeg and some neighboring villages are where Jobbik is the strongest in the region, with strong local grass-roots organization (It’s also strong in Tapolca too).

Webber
Guest

Perhaps Simicka’s billboard and sign-posting company is supporting Jobbik now. Just before the elections last year on a trip through Veszprém co. my wife and I observed that nearly all the signs on electric posts and all but one of the billboards we saw were for Fidesz candidates.

exTor
Guest

No irony in your post, Reality Check?

Unless I have made an error (in criticism), then you should have let this dog lie. I presume that you know irony? You have hijacked this stream with your crit. I had made my point and that is where it would have (and should have) ended had you and Paul (to a lesser extent) not objected.

So, I now feel compelled to respond.

We live in the real world and the real world contains things and those things have names and all things must be properly identified.

Eva Balogh is a mature woman. She knows that corrections come with the territory. My correction was proffered in good faith, not ill intent. Her capability as the facilitator of Hungarian Spectrum was not impugned.

So, Reality Check, what is the real import of your crit? That no one should say anything untoward [read: critical] lest the purity of the stream be deflected? Or that some corrections are okay and others not?

Only dictators can not countenance criticism.

MAGYARKOZÓ

RealityCheck
Guest

“Only dictators can not countenance criticism.”

You really went there. A bit early to play the “Reductio ad Hitlerum” card. Sorry I will not play your game.

Webber
Guest

“…Only dictators can not countenance criticism.”
Even if you hadn’t said as much in an earlier post, what you’ve written above made it amply clear that you’re not a native English speaker. Syntax, rhythm, cadence – all off.
Your earlier correction, also, was wrong. You might have acknowledged that.
Do you have anything at all to say about the content of Eva’s articles, or are you just a self-appointed corrector?
And can you “countenance” this?

Guest

For a poet it is all right to use a weird word in order to strengthen an alitteration.

Webber
Guest

For a poet, yes, for a pedant, no.
Anyway, I have no problem with the word. It was something else…

googly
Guest
The sad thing is that even after all that has happened (internet tax, Simicska, Buda-Cash, Quaestor, etc.), all the left parties together cannot beat Fidesz alone in an opinion poll. If an election happened today, assuming all the left parties could unite and still get these numbers, they would get beaten handily by Fidesz. Even if they somehow got more votes than Fidesz, they would probably lose the election to Fidesz (thanks to the rigged, unfair system). Even if they could win the most seats, they could not enter government in coalition with Jobbik, so Fidesz would still be in power. Even if opinion shifted drastically (what would that take, a live broadcast of all the Fidesz leadership murdering babies?), and the united Left won a majority, they couldn’t govern effectively, and Fidesz (or Jobbik) would just win the next election. It’s becoming clear to me that nothing short of an expulsion from the EU or a drastic economic contraction is going to result in democracy being restored to Hungary at the next election, and even then it’s possible that Jobbik will become the new Fidesz. Hungarian voters won’t see the light without some extreme event as long as Fidesz… Read more »
petofi
Guest

“…democracy being restored…”?

Surely you jest. Hungarians wouldn’t know Democracy–its obligations as well as its advantages (such as fooling those dumb, naive, Westerners)–if you hit them in the face with it.

Let’s just forget the whole thing. If these lazy, stupid, vast-majority, of mustachioes can’t tell that they had–right here, now, and in front of them–two experienced and well-intentioned men by the name of Bajnai and Angyan…to lead them, then what help is there for them? I’m dumbfounded by the fact that all those citizen groups couldn’t find their way to elevating Angyan as their leader. Who, pray tell, would be better?

To me, the fact that Angyan has been side-lined and ignored by ALL political elements basically testifies to the fact that there are hidden oligarcoes who control all parties within the country.

As in many things Hungarian, there is a great ‘to-do’, but basically it’s smoke and mirrors stuff to keep the hapless Hungarians up to their armpits in confusion. That’s the game.

So the best one can hope for is some iron-willed, well-intentioned, policeman, or general, to take control a la Ataturk. Certainly better than these ‘boulevard kacsas’ like Szijjarto and Lazar…

spectator
Guest

With all due respect – there is an aspect, what you seem to ignore.

One can be the most honest and gifted person, even politician, but in the role what you looking for the person must be a good (great, strong, charismatic, etc.) leader too, otherwise it won’t work.
That’s the reason – well, one of them definitely – of Bajnai’s failure too, if we are talking about Hungarian politics.

Unfortunately the true value of someone hardly ever matters around the above mentioned place – you certainly familiar with the fairly rude Hungarian expression regarding the “stronger dog”, do you? That’s about it.

Guest

Re: “Surely you jest. Hungarians wouldn’t know Democracy–its obligations as well as its advantages (such as fooling those dumb, naive, Westerners)–if you hit them in the face with it”

You know at bottom it sure does look like Hungary sees democracy much more as as a burden rather than an advantage in solving its difficult problems.. I’d think it takes a certain psychological disposition to go with the flow and the ‘give and take’ of its style. I mean even the Greeks had a hard time with it and they’re the ones who brought it to fruition.

At this point, Hungary must have succumbed to the bad press ‘democracy’ got when the Russians started to get into it a bit. Their criticism arguably was on the order that ‘democracy’ brought them dreaded ills.

Thing is I don’t think the actual political style of the ‘car’ is bad but the drivers. They seem not to understand what it takes to learn shifting when you have to make turns. On the other hand perhaps Hungary doesn’t really want to understand what it’s all about.

Member

They will proceed with captain Szanyi after the election, so they told.

spectator
Guest

A commenter of a Hungarian site posted the so far – according to my opinion – best slogan to the election. In fact any election.
Something like:

“Honestly, do you really want to vote for the party of Orbán, Szijjártó, Lázár, Rogán, Habony?” – and so on, all the major leaches mentioned by name.

As long as someone would ask “do you vote for Fidesz?” the answer fairly simple, “yes!”
However, personifying the question could certainly make one wonder “do I, really..?”

petofi
Guest

This is a useful suggestion.
But you forget one thing: attempt this ad hominem attack and you fix yourself in the crosshairs of the Fideszniks for life. And as we know, even outside of the power structure, Hungarian politicos get to garner some ‘crumbs’ here and there…

spectator
Guest

The point is that there is no “attack” what you can put a finger on.
It simply connect a face with the party and ask an “innocent” question. Everything else happens in the head of the voter.
Well, usually some reverb or echo, but now and then it may stick to something in there and start some thinking.

That’s the most what one can pray for anyway.

It may result that even more fidesznik turns to the Nazis for salvation, since everyone else painted pitch black, and seems that the “left” still clueless what to do…

Unfortunately if there is no miracles scheduled to happen, that’s the most likely scenario.

Now, put your palms on your screen, concentrate hard, and say after me ……!

(To be continued)

Fella
Guest

At present a rather feeble competition to HS but interesting and kinda funny: https://congressofbaboons.wordpress.com/

Guest

Thanks a lot, Fella!
This “Baboon” site is really hilarious – wish I/we had found it earlier …
Now I have a lot of reading to do – though of course many things there are nothing new to readers of HS it’s always good to see an alternative viewpoint.

@Eva:
I think you should add this site to your list of noteworthy sites!

petofi
Guest

I read the last entry, which, by the way, was as recently as February 23. Not what you would call, ‘of the moment’. Still, there are some chuckles. I haven’t seen the commentary yet…

An
Guest

The decrease in Fidesz’s popularity is good news, but will it last? The next general elections are far away, and a lot can change till then. Maybe Orban reverses the law on the Sunday store closings in 2017, decreases the utility prices, and people will be so happy that they vote for Fidesz again (at least enough of them do so that it secures a victory for Fidesz in a manipulated election system). People will even forget that it was Fidesz (KDNP) who closed the stores on Sundays in the first place.
I think Orban thinks he can pull this off again. I hope he is wrong.

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