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Contradictory Results in Surveys over Sargentini Report

Ábrahám Vass 2018.09.27.

Many fear that Hungary has become deeply divided politically. Well, if we take a look at the findings of two politically opposed institutes, indeed, we might have the impression that we live in two different versions of Hungary.

Two weeks ago, the European Parliament voted in favor of the Sargentini report – which charged the government with attacking the media and religious and academic freedoms, the poor treatment of minorities and asylum seekers and interference in judicial independence – triggering sanctions procedures against Hungary. However, the government insists that the report and the outcome of the EP vote are targeting Hungarians as a whole because of the country’s stance on migration.

Let’s see what two of the major think-tanks have discovered regarding the attitude of voters towards the report:

Government-funded and pro-Fidesz Századvég found that the majority of Hungarians disagree with the approval of the Sargentini report. According to their survey, 82 percent of a sample of 1,000 adults have heard of the report. Altogether 57 percent of them said they were against the report’s approval, while 32 percent said they agreed with it. 11 percent were either undecided or did not answer.

Századvég notes that the report had majority support among left-wing voters, while self-declared centrists and right-wing voters were against it. In addition, according to their survey, 55 percent of respondents said the Sargentini report criticized Hungary for its migration policy, while 39 percent believed it was because there is “a problem with democracy and human rights” in the country.

Left-liberal, MSZP-linked Publicus Institute has revealed totally different results. Out of 1001 respondents, 72% have heard of the report. 44% of them would have approved it, while 33% wouldn’t have. In accordance with the findings of the former, Publicus’ sample found that the majority of Fidesz voters (80%) would have voted against it, while centrist and left-wings are in favor.

Publicus also asked respondents if, according to them, the report is indeed about Hungary or rather about the government’s policies. Interestingly, on this matter, Fidesz voters have shown division (41% yes- 41% no), while the majority (51%) said that it predominantly criticizes the government and not Hungary as a whole.

featured photo by Pablo Garrigos/EP