Recent surveys confirm a correlation between the political views of Hungarians and their opinions on pandemic operations and vaccination. What is also interesting is the way in which different research institutes measure and present their findings, possibly in order to prove certain political statements.
Leftist daily Népszava stated based on a survey by the left-leaning Publicus Institute that opposition supporters are more in favor of vaccination than supporters of Fidesz, while pro-government Mandiner, based on the survey of the pro-Fidesz Nézőpont Institute, said the same for Fidesz supporters. Although the two news outlets make completely conflicting statements up front, their findings say a lot about opinions among Hungary’s population.
Surveys Used to Back Political Opinions?
When the Publicus Insitute asked its one thousand respondents whether they believe the opposition is against vaccination, 61 percent of respondents, most of them opposition supporters, said no. Two-thirds of pro-Fidesz respondents said that the opposition is against vaccination.
Publicus strategic director András Pulai concluded, based on this statistic, that the government’s assertion that the opposition is anti-vaccination is “no more than political propaganda.”
While it does not make such a direct statement, the Mandiner article implies that based on Nézőpont’s survey, the influence of the opposition on its supporters makes them 12 percent less likely to support vaccination than the national average.
Social-liberal Democratic Coalition leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, accused by Fidesz of being against vaccination, has previously referred to Publicus’ findings in stating that opposition supporters are more likely to be pro-vaccination. Mandiner brought this up, claiming that their article had found the exact opposite.
Fidesz Voters Open to Non-EMA Vaccines
Publicus’ survey found that 51 percent of Fidesz-KDNP supporters would be willing to be vaccinated if they could choose their vaccine of preference. This is more than supporters of DK, Jobbik, and Momentum, but less than the 84 percent willingness among socialist MSZP supporters.
Willingness for specific vaccines also varies based on party support. While 75 percent of Fidesz voters would theoretically support a Sinopharm vaccination, only 18 percent of Jobbik supporters would feel the same.
This is comparable to the 68 percent of Fidesz voters supporting Pfizer, less than the 86 percent of support from opposition supporters. It is worth noting that the Orbán government has been campaigning in support of Eastern vaccines, while the importance and effectiveness of Western vaccines has barely been mentioned by pro-government politicians or media outlets.
Hungarians More Willing to be Vaccinated
Unlike Népszava, Mandiner discussed the overall willingness to be vaccinated growing among Hungarians. since January, support for vaccination has grown by 45 percent, and currently stands at 72 percent of the whole population.
According to Mandiner, this increased willingness is due to the increasing variety of vaccines, the organization of vaccination centers, and people being tired of pandemic conditions.
Most Hungarians Unaware of Death Rate
A third survey by liberal-leaning Medián measured different but related statistics among Hungary’s population. It found that only half of Hungarians consider Hungary’s death rate to be bad or very bad, and most do not even know the general number of people who have fallen victim to the virus.
Only 36 percent of respondents knew that there have been 20-25 thousand coronavirus related fatalities in Hungary, and 36 percent believe the death rate to be at a good or very good standing. Meanwhile, the grim reality is that Hungary has been the world leader in daily deaths per million based on its rolling 7-day average since March 21. The country’s overall pandemic statistics do not fair well either, since it has the second highest death rate per 1 million people in the world.
The majority of these respondents support the government too, since 70 percent of those who wish for a new government consider Hungary’s death statistics to be in poor shape.
Hungarians Relatively Satisfied with Government
Respondents were also asked to rate the governments handling of the pandemic on a scale of 0 to 100. Understandably, Fidesz sympathizers rated the government’s performance higher (79) while opposition rated it lower (40). Supporters of neither gave it a score of 55. These scores were all better than they were in March.
Everyone rated the government’s handling of the economic crisis lower. Fidesz supporters gave the government 72 points, opposition supporters 31 points, and non-aligned respondents gave it 50 points.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI