Less than two weeks before the 2019 local elections, we take another dive in and gather the most recent pollsters regarding the approval rating of the Budapest mayoral candidates. Many of them predict an extremely close competition while others indicate a clear Fidesz win.
A possibly close competition
Looking at the most recent polls conducted by institutions close to opposition parties, the difference between the two strongest Budapest candidates: Fidesz-KDNP-supported incumbent Budapest Mayor István Tarlós, and joint opposition candidate (also Budapest 14th district Mayor) Gergely Karácsony, is extremely narrow.
According to a recent survey of leftist pollster Závecz Research, among all Budapest residents, 38 percent of respondents approve Mayor Tarlós, followed by Gergely Karácsony (33%), Róbert Puzsér (4%), Krisztián Berki (1%).
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The poll conducted by leftist Publicus Institute shows an even smaller difference in its result with 37% of respondents supporting Tarlós, while 34% are in favor of his opposition rival Karácsony. This means that the difference between the two candidates is only a small percentage, well within the survey’s margin of error. According to the survey, the two remaining candidates’ support is far inferior as only 4% of voters plan to back independent Róbert Puzsér, while Krisztián Berki’s chance of becoming the next Budapest mayor is even slimmer with less than 1% behind the trash-media personality. (One quarter did not know or did not want to answer who they were voting for). In the most recent survey of the pollster, where they reported the candidates’ approval among decided voters, the difference is quite similar, as Karácsony (47%) is also only hairs away from Tarlós (49%).
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The Iránytű Institute, which is affiliated with nationalist Jobbik, had almost identical numbers in its private survey, liberal 444.hu reports. Among all respondents, István Tarlós’ support is at 37% with Gergely Karácsony closely behind with 35%. Similarly, according to Publicus’s survey, Róbert Puzsér is at 4% while Krisztián Berki is at 1%.
Liberal Republikon Institute indicates the sharpest battle between Tarlós (35%) and Karácsony (34%) measuring only a difference of 1%.
Pro-Fidesz poll-takers predict clean Tarlós win
Meanwhile, both pro-government institutes predict an easy Tarlós win with Karácsony significantly falling behind.
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According to the most recent research by pro-Fidesz Századvég, altogether 74% of their respondents said they expect Tarlós to win in the October elections, and only 16% said Karácsony had better chances. Only 3% said that Róbert Puzsér can be expected to win, and 1% said Krisztián Berki would become Budapest mayor.
It is important to point out that all of the surveys (except for Nézőpont) were conducted before the leaked audio recording of Karácsony where he talks about rather uncomfortable topics for him such as corruption in his allied party MSZP’s local chapter, and threats to his family. Thus, we don’t know whether it significantly impacted his support, and if so, to exactly what extent.
Another pro-government institute, Nézőpont reports that István Tarlós’ support among decided voters grew by 3 percentage points to 56%, while joint opposition candidate Gergely Karácsony’s fell to 38% from 40% ahead of the local elections on October 13th. Among opposition voters, the ratio of those supporting Karácsony fell from 68% at the beginning of September to 63%, Nézőpont said.
These changes could indicate that the leaked audio of Karácsony worsened the district mayor’s chances (as this is the only survey conducted after the leak).
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI