Medián: Serious loss for Fidesz, gain for Jobbik

The latest findings of Medián published in HVG bore the witty title “Universal Decline,” reflecting the pollsters’ belief that the drop in Fidesz’s popularity is largely due to Viktor Orbán’s decision to launch a frontal attack against Central European University.

This reversal in the fortunes of the party is considerable. While in January 37% of the electorate would have voted for Fidesz, that percentage has now shrunk to 31%. This amounts to the loss of almost half a million voters. Underlying this drop is a general dissatisfaction with the governing party. Medián usually asks its respondents to name the one party they would under no circumstances vote for. In January only 37% of the respondents named Fidesz, but by now 46% of those surveyed said they would never cast their vote for the government party. In January half of the electorate were satisfied with the work of the government; today it’s only 40%. In January 46% of the people were hopeful about the future. Today that number has plummeted to 33%, with 57% expecting worse times to come. The percentage of those who want a change of government in 2018 has increased from 48% to 52%.

Left–red: total population; green: electorate; orange: active voters. Right–after the list of parties come the categories “doesn’t know,” “doesn’t tell,” “definitely will not vote”

After looking at these figures, one can safely say that Viktor Orbán’s decision to take on George Soros and CEU was politically unwise. At yet it’s fairly easy to see how and why it came about. Orbán and his strategists, when developing their political moves in preparation for next year’s election, were most likely convinced that their winning card was Viktor Orbán’s very successful handling of the migrant issue. Whether we approve or disapprove of his methods, from his own point of view his refugee policy was a roaring success. An overwhelming majority of the population fully support Orbán’s policies, including many who did not previously vote for Fidesz. Thus Orbán and his strategists quite logically opted to continue the same loud anti-migrant rhetoric. Everything else–the personal attacks on George Soros, on Central European University, on the NGOs, and on Brussels–were meant to serve this purpose. Unfortunately for Orbán, the grand strategy turned out to be a bust domestically, and his government’s standing in Europe has sunk to its lowest level in the last seven years.

By the way, the Medián poll debunks a widely held view that outside of Budapest (and the Budapest intellectual elite in particular) people are largely ignorant about the anti-government demonstrations and their precipitating cause–the attack on CEU. Among those surveyed, about 80% had heard of the demonstrations, and half of those named the attempted closing of CEU as the cause of the protests. They didn’t even need any prompting; they offered the information on their own. People in the countryside (vidék) are just as well informed on this issue as the inhabitants of Budapest. The great majority of Hungarians think it would be a shame if the government shuttered CEU. Only 32% think that CEU is in a privileged position vis-à-vis other Hungarian universities and that therefore the government is justified in its efforts to close it down.

While we are on the subject of CEU, I would note that there seems to be total disarray in government circles about their plans to deal with this issue. Péter Szijjártó this morning, in an impromptu press conference, was still talking about an intergovernmental agreement between Hungary and the United States even though it had been made crystal clear to Budapest that the U.S. federal government is not authorized to negotiate with a foreign power on the fate of an educational institution. Undersecretary László Palkovics, who has been suspiciously quiet in the last few weeks, published a highly insulting article in the conservative Canadian National Post titled “Calling out Michael Ignatieff.” He accused the president of CEU of “hijacking academic freedom in Hungary.” In the article he repeats the old Hungarian demand of “a bilateral agreement between the institution’s country of origin and Hungary.” As if nothing had happened in the interim. Viktor Orbán is refusing to answer questions on CEU. He sent ATV’s reporter to László Trócsányi, minister of justice, who is supposed to come up with some clever legal answer to the European Commission’s objections. At the moment, however, he is “extremely uncertain” as to the legal underpinnings of the EC’s position on the issue. One thing is sure. The Hungarian government will wait until the last possible moment to respond to the European Commission on the CEU case.

To round out this post, let’s go back to the Medián poll to see who benefited from the drop in Fidesz support. The real winner was Jobbik, which gained four percentage points. In January 10% of the electorate would have voted for Jobbik. Today it is 14% which, given Jobbik voters’ enthusiasm for going to the polls, means that the party would receive 20% of the actual votes cast. This sudden jump in popularity is most likely due to the highly successful Jobbik “You Work—They Steal” campaign.

Collectively, the parties on the left also gained four percentage points. Those who expected miracles from László Botka’s announcement of his readiness to head MSZP’s ticket in preparation for the 2018 election must be disappointed. MSZP’s 9% is nothing to brag about, especially since Botka has been canvassing the country for the last month. MSZP’s standing is practically the same as it was in January. As for his own popularity, his name by now is widely known, but his popularity hasn’t moved upward. The two great losers in the popularity ranking are Viktor Orbán (-9) and János Áder (-11).

One more interesting item. Endre Hann and Zsuzsa Lakatos, who coauthored the article on the Medián poll, state that “the extrusion of Ferenc Gyurcsány … proved to be divisive. Two-thirds of MSZP voters would still like to see him ‘in an important political role.’ On the other hand, it is true that Botka … is considered to be a qualified candidate for the premiership by 54% of the DK voters.”

I’m curious what Viktor Orbán’s next step will be. So far there has been a reluctance to drop the divisive and damaging CEU affair, which is eating away at his support. Moreover, he is being confronted with a growing anti-Russian sentiment and charges of Vladimir Putin’s stranglehold on Viktor Orbán. László Kéri, an astute political observer, is certain that today “we live in a different world from the one a couple of months ago.” He predicts that the decline of the Orbán regime is inevitable. He compared the current governmental chaos to the last days of the Gyurcsány government. But, of course, Orbán is no Gyurcsány, who, although perhaps too late, resigned. A similar move from Viktor Orbán is unimaginable.

May 3, 2017
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Doggo
Guest
“Gain for Jobbik” Wow the Jobbikniks of this community will be overjoyed. Yesterday I asked them whether they support Jobbik and many people responded. Not a single one of them condemned Jobbik or said they were against Jobbik. Or that they wished Jobbik to fail or their poll numbers to go down. Not a single member of this community said that they were against Jobbik. Looked very much like supporters’ opinions. What I don’t understand is why they feel they need to hide it? If you are happy Jobbik gains in the polls, be happy but don’t try to hide it, to conceal it in order to mislead people. Admit your feelings honestly and proudly. “After looking at these figures, one can safely say that Viktor Orbán’s decision to take on George Soros and CEU was politically unwise.” So you think Jobbik is gaining support because Jobbik supports George Soros or CEU? The problem with this is that Jobbik does not support CEU, far from it. Laszlo Toroczkai said: “CEU should be immediately shut down due to the national security risk it poses. The building should be demolished and destroyed and the earth where it stood, should be salted” Mr.… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

@Doggo 8:08 p.m.

But you do know, don’t you, that Viktor Orban and Peter Szijjarto are both paid Russian agents?

Observer
Guest

I support Vona/Jobbik’s campaign against the Orban mafia rule.
I support Vona/Jobbik’s drive to the center, real or apparent.
I support co-operation with Vona/Jobbik’s if that helps bust the Orban mafia which is nation’s public enemy no. 1.

Clear enough?

Zsuzsa
Guest

and then they elected a Trump… change can mean something worse. something much worse.

Observer
Guest

Zsuzsa

There is no comparison. Just look at the 100 days.

What can be worse than the Orban’s dictatorship ?
– Jobbik government is out of the question.
– Jobbik/Fid coalition could/eventually can come at any time, regardless of their 10 or 20% standing.
Even this would be an “improvement” as Orban will have to share or compromise (btw something he hates to do).

On the other hand, if the Orban mafia is busted with Jobbik’s assistance, there will be a democracy and some coalition where all parties will have a say – a great improvement.

Zsuzsa
Guest

I think it’s wishful thinking. That would mean compromise. I don’t think Hungarians are capable of it. A Jobbik government, God help all the minorities, could become a possibility the longer Orban plays in the Ruszki gangster’s playpen. Hungarians may not know what they want, but they certainly don’t want anything Russian.

Tyrker
Guest

I’m not happy that Jobbik is the only party to have clearly benefited from Fidesz’s (relative) loss of popularity, mainly because Jobbik’s politicians appear to be at least as much on Putin’s payroll as those of Fidesz. Not much to choose between the two, is there?

Observer
Guest

Tyrker

There is a choice – Orban is the fascist who’s got a stranglehold on the nation and is sucking its blood right now. Potential dangers take second place.

Nobody’s mentioned happiness here, has he?

exTor
Guest

The Jobbik antiFidesz campaign will be magic. Whether it was planned before the Fidesz debacle-to-be is irrelevant, the effect will be damaging.

Fidesz shot itself in the foot with its antiCEU gambit. Not sure whose brainwave it ultimately was, but surely some in Fidesz must have realized that Fidesz was about to play with fire trying to take on a major European institution.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-adviser-jared-kushner-didnt-disclose-startup-stake-1493717405

Now comes Wall Street Journal news that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Donald Trump, has major financial ties to George Soros. That wont go down well with rightwingers around the world.

MAGYARKOZÓ

pappp
Guest
We have to note that Median had been showing one of the highest popularity for Fidesz among the pollsters. Within the general population Median several times showed 36-37% last year when even the Fidesznik propaganda pollsters showed only 27%. This is an anomaly of Median’s which must be accounted for because this could mean that this sudden loss of 6% is just a kind of reversion to the mean – probably Fidesz real popularity was always lower (and more like the figures of other pollsters) but for whatever reasons Median’s methodology and results only now caught up with reality after some extreme showings. The really big drop compared to January happened among those ‘hopeful about the future’ from 45 to 33. This is a gigantic drop. And it is there we can perhaps see that something is amiss in the polls (ie. Fidesz’ real numbers are even lower). I think it was inconceivable that in January 50% of the people were satisfied with how things were going. One only had to talk a walk 5 minutes in downtown Pécs (let alone Uránváros) or Miskolc (let alone Avas housing projects) or rural Borsod county and it was impossible to think 50%… Read more »
pappp
Guest

I don’t think Keri’s comparison to 2006 is apt. MSZP’s support really fell apart because of what happened after the 2008 economic crisis.

It wasn’t just restrictions (cutting of pensions, the 13th month pension) but people back in 2008-2010 were afraid how they could pay their FX mortgages, jobs were lost etc.

Fidesz not only does not have such a global crises it has a lot of (taxpayer) money to burn. Pensioners will receive a bonus and the like, salaries at the police/security/ military/border guard/prison guard forces increased by 50% within two years.

Already I hear old folks (I’m not kidding) saying they can’t wait for the year end (to get that promised bonus of 28k forints I think) and they will vote for Orban because they are grateful, because “nobody really cared about them, but Viktor really does”.

Orban will buy voters whereas MSZP was losing them with its restrictions. Moreover the then opposition, ie. Fidesz, was very aggressive against MSZP. Fidesz forced MSZP into a many-year long defense whereas Fidesz still has the image of it being the attacking party which always wins in the end.

Observer
Guest

Keri “compared the current governmental chaos to the last days of the Gyurcsány government… ”

Wrong for other reasons as well –

– MSZP had never been ruled by, subservient to a single leader, not even by G.Horn. There were always “platforms” (factions) with different views/agenda – witness the change of presidents or the choosing a peripheral figure – Megyessy for PM.
– Fid used and abused any and all means to destabilize the country and to topple the government in 2006-2008 from rioting to jacking up the interest rates (MNB under Zs.Járai).
Such “democratic” structure is a drawback in a crisis/political war.
– by 2008 GyF was had lukewarm support within the MSZP leadership at best and active opponents (shall we say enemies).

pappp
Guest

Yes, this is wishful thinking by Keri. I’m much more optimistic about Fidesz’ possible defeat than 95% of the people I know, but still the situation is very different from 2006-2010.

Orban will be able to regain popularity by spending a lot of money on key constituencies and option MSZP simply didn’t have after 2006.

And although I think Fidesz probably has less than 25% popularity among all voters (I absolutely refuse to buy any figure above 30%) this support still makes it the single most popular party. There’s no debate about that.

Member
Before we get all excited about the Decline and Fall of the House of Orban, let’s look at the other numbers in this poll. The “valasztani tudo” and “biztos szavazo” numbers are important, because they exclude the people least likely to vote. In past elections, they have been fairly accurate predictors of final results. Turnout in Hungarian elections is usually around 2/3 of eligible voters, which essentially the same ratio that responded to Median’s questions on party preference. On Median’s “biztos szavazo” scale, Fidesz is at 47%, slightly higher than their result in the 2014 election. Jobbik is at 20%, which matches their 2014 performance. The MSZP is scrounging around at 13%, demonstrating that their effete leaders have been hitherto unable to create political capital out of the CEU flap. In other words, if the election had been held in April 2017, Fidesz could once again be hopeful for a 2/3 majority. The question is, can Jobbik and the “left” strategize skillfully enough to keep fueling the downward trend in Fidesz’s fortunes? A lot depends on whether the opposition can target constituencies where they are likely to win. Fidesz’s strength in the individual constituencies, which account for 106 of 199… Read more »
Observer
Guest

I still hope there is/will be some Bradley effect – all the factors are present. Last time such appeared in the 2002 elections.

The current figures show that the regime can not be dislodged without some kind of understanding with the Jobbik. Nothing can possibly reduce their no of voters enough to marginalize the party.

Further mobilization of undecided to the dem side and erosion of Fid voting intentions are possible, probable to some extent, depending on the work done by the dem side and the flow of scandals with Fid. Every drop counts.

exTor
Guest

Miniszterelnők Vona Gábor ??? [Alex Kuli, 2017 May 4, 3:48 AM] Perhaps sometime, but highly unlikely in 2018, at least based on current electorate preferences. What is more likely is the return of a Fidesz government, but without the critical supermajority that Fidesz desires.

As Hungary’s number-two party, Jobbik has the clear advantage over the antiOrbán opposition extant to the left of Fidesz. Jobbik is unitary, moving as one. Its antiFidesz ‘Ők lopnak.’ slogan is pure genius. It’s short and sweet, a knife thrust to the gut. Fidesz gets the point.

The only thing that those to the left can do is maneuver in reaction to Jobbik, which is in the driver’s seat with respect to the opposition to Fidesz. Given that Vona has embarked upon a rebranding of his party, Jobbik stands to pick up centrist voters who once may have been turned off by Jobbik’s overt racism and antisemitism.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

What I said was, “Prime Minister Vona” would be a likelihood IF it were ALSO true that most poll respondents were lying to Median. I do not believe most poll respondents are lying about their voting intentions.

exTor
Guest

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/laszlo-palkovics-michael-ignatieff-is-waging-a-media-war-against-my-government-to-suit-his-own-ambitions

Éva’s linkage to the Palkovics letter to the National Post was unsatisfactory in that the link did not directly access the National Post. The above linkage to the National Post’s website also shows the responses, one being from Máté András. I find it interesting that Palkovics chose the furthest-right newspaper (as opposed to the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail) as the recipient of his Fidesz propaganda. The responses are mostly antiFidesz.

MAGYARKOZÓ

dude
Guest

Tarki denies that Fidesz lost any voters. Tarki says that the figures compared to last months are statistically unchanged.

Actually the current Tarki and Median figures are now quiet close which may imply that Median is now back where most polling companies measured Fidesz.

Median was an outlier before and now it reverted back to the averages of other pollsters. But it may be that nothing changed really and that Fidesz is stable, Jobbik actually lost some votes. Who knows? Fidesz doesn’t seem to be nervous at all.

http://index.hu/belfold/2017/05/04/a_tarki_szerint_nem_is_vesztett_szavazokat_a_fidesz/

exTor
Guest
Hey dude –love the name– I wont say that Fidesz is shitting bricks, but I certainly would not say that “Fidesz doesn’t seem to be nervous at all.” The reality that I infer is one where Fidesz sees the wall whereon the writing is becoming more and more legible. Jobbik is now threat #1, fanging Fidesz with its ubiquitous ‘Ők lopnak.’ taunts, which Fidesz now attempts to interdict with antiJobbik billboard legislation. The election will soon enough arrive. Fidesz’s troubles will mount. The attack on CEU threatens to explode in Fidesz’s face. The memory of how Fidesz was Hungary’s hero saving the country from Muslim migrants (as Orbán portrays them) will have faded. Something major will have to occur this time next year, something that Fidesz can milk favorably. I am reminded of the Budapest explosion of September 2016, one that injured a cop, one that stenches of an inside job, occurring shortly before Orbán’s antirefugee referendum, perhaps something akin to the September 1999 Russian-apartment bombings, postulated by some to be inside jobs perpetrated by the Russian government to target Chechens. Who knows, if next summer Viktor sees the writing on the wall, he might consider taking out a wall… Read more »
Member

|s there any difference any longer between the policies and ethos of the fascist regime and Jobbik?

Both are far-right, racist, exclusionist.
Both have thuggish, unofficial armies.
Jobbik are less corrupt, Fidesz are less outwardly anti-Semitic (although it not only tolerates but actively encourages nazi filth like Zoltan Bayer).
Jobbik are younger, Fidesz have better suits.
Dont know who Putyin prefers at the moment.
And that
s about it.

If it takes Vona being prime-minister to topple the Maffia Kormany, would that be a sacrifice democrats would be prepared to make? Tricky question to answer.

Guest

“Fidesz have better suits.”

Fidesz copied the international banker suit when it was already seen by many as a warning of untrustworthiness.

Observer
Guest

Guys,

Where do you take this Vona PM from ? Plsease, be real.

petofi
Guest

Be aware of the old adage: “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

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