Domestic Politics

Pollster: Hungarian Ruling Parties Maintain Massive Lead 6 Months Ahead Of Elections

Core voter support for both the Fidesz-led ruling alliance and opposition LMP increased in October, while radical nationalist Jobbik and the Socialists saw their fortunes wane, but the changes were within the margin of error, pro-government think tank Nézőpont Institute said.

Among decided voters, the Fidesz alliance with the Christian Democrats received 44% support, which equals the domestic support it attracted on the party lists at the 2014 elections. LMP increased its support by a percentage point, to 7%, in this category. Jobbik stood at 19% among decided voters, which is slightly below the party’s 2014 results on the party list. Nézőpont added that Jobbik stood at 21% last month and 22% a month earlier. The Socialists fell by a percentage point to 10% among decided voters and DK stayed at 8%.

Among all voters, fully 31% backed the ruling parties in October, a percentage point increase from September, the poll based on interviews with a representative sample of 2,000 adults showed. Support for Jobbik dropped by a percentage point to 10% among all voters, while support for the Socialists also dropped by a percentage point, to 5%. Nézőpont said support for both parties was extremely low in October compared with other months in the period since 2014. Among all voters, the Democratic Coalition received an unchanged 4% support, LMP received an unchanged 3%, Momentum and the satirical Two-tailed Dog party 2% each, and Együtt and the Liberal Party 1% each.

What may be behind the numbers?

In Hungarian weekly Hetek, liberal commentator Gábor Gavra believes that the Socialist Party is caught in a downward spiral launched by a series of betrayals. For the past 7 years, whoever they elected as party leader was swiftly scuttled by internal opponents, culminating in the forced resignation of Szeged Mayor László Botka, who had attempted to preserve at least the medium-sized status of his party. At that particular moment, DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány rejected wholesale co-operation with the Socialist Party although Botka had to quit because he was not ready to cooperate with Gyurcsány.

The DK leader’s behaviour suggests that he hopes to become the leading force on the Left once again, Gavra explains, while the MSZP sinks swiftly towards the 5% parliamentary threshold. That might result in relative success for Mr Gyurcsány, he continues, but the MSZP’s dramatic failure would also mean a catastrophe for the Left as a whole at the elections next year. True, Gavra remarks, the Left has abandoned its traditional role of protecting the interests of the poor and the middle class throughout the world, which explains its poor electoral showing in many countries over the past year.

In right-wing and pro-government weekly Demokrata, Péter Bándy thinks that although Jobbik is still the second strongest party in Hungary, it risks losing support as a result of its policy shift aiming to seek new supporters on the Left. He quotes recent Századvég research which found Jobbik still extremely unpopular among left-wing voters. Party leader Gábor Vona has been trying to court left-wing audiences lately in order to lure them away from the MSZP and DK, whom he characterised as 20th century parties unlike his own which he considers a 21st century political force.

When asked if they would vote for a Jobbik candidate, eight MSP voters out of 10 said no. Meanwhile, Bándy finds Vona’s support dwindling among his traditional radical right-wing base, which means that while he is unable to recruit new followers on the Left, he might well lose many on the Right. Bándy’s conclusion is that after the next elections Vona will not be around any more as the Jobbik leader.

via MTI, nezopontintezet.hu and budapost.eu