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Pollsters: 4-6 Parties Expected to Win Seats in EP

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.05.23.

Hungary will likely send four to six parties to the next European Parliament, participants in a conference attended by public opinion research institutes concluded on Wednesday.

Citing their latest EP election surveys, the analysts said the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance, nationalist Jobbik, the alliance of leftist Socialist and green liberal Párbeszéd, and the leftist-liberal Democratic Coalition (DK) were likely to win seats in this Sunday’s ballot, with LMP and the Momentum Movement also in with a shot.

At the conference presenting the latest polls by pro-Fidesz Nézőpont Institute, leftist Závecz Research, leftist Publicus Institute, pro-Fidesz Századvég and liberal Medián, the analysts were in agreement that the ruling parties are the strongest with over 50 percent support.

Turnout is expected to exceed 32 percent and may even reach 40 percent, they said. The election’s most exciting battle, they said, was the fight for second place between what many see as a weakening Jobbik, a stagnant Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance and a rising DK. The other question, the analysts said, was which of the two smaller parties, LMP and Momentum, would clear the 5 percent threshold to win a seat, if not both.

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According to a table handed out to journalists at the event, Fidesz-KDNP is backed by 52-56 percent of decided voters. Jobbik has the backing of 10-15 percent of voters, while the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance sits between 10 and 16 percent. Support for DK falls somewhere between 7 and 11 percent. LMP is backed by 4-6 percent of voters and Momentum by 3-6 percent. Support for the satirical Two-tailed Dog Party falls between 0 and 3 percent and for the far-right Mi Hazánk Movement between 0 and 2 percent. Other parties are backed by 0-3 percent of decided voters.

Endre Hann, Medián‘s director, projected a turnout of 35-36 percent. Citing Medián’s latest poll commissioned by business weekly HVG to be released on Thursday, he said Jobbik could end up as the second strongest party.

Citing Medián’s “expert estimate”, Hann said Fidesz was expected to win 13 seats in the next European Parliament, Jobbik 3, the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance and DK 2 each and Momentum 1 seat. According to the poll, Fidesz is projected to win 52 percent of the vote, followed by Jobbik with 11.5 percent, Socialists-Párbeszéd with 10.5 percent, DK with 10 percent and Momentum with 5.5 percent. LMP is projected to get 4 percent of the vote and the Two-Tailed Dog Party and Mi Hazánk 3 percent each, he added.

Hann said that of the two smaller parties with a shot at a seat in the EP, Momentum was in a better position than LMP. He also warned that if Jobbik failed to win three seats, the seat it loses would likely go to Fidesz.

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Dániel Nagy, the Nézőpont Institute‘s director of research, put turnout between 32 and 40 percent. He said it was “no question” that Fidesz would win the election with over 50 percent of the vote and between 1.3 and 1.4 million votes.

Nagy said there were three parties heading into the election with high stakes. For LMP and Momentum, he said, clearing the 5 percent threshold could also mean their survival, adding that Jobbik was at risk of “completely falling apart”.

Tibor Závecz, the head of Závecz Research, compared last year’s general election results with his institute’s latest projections for this Sunday. While turnout last year exceeded 70 percent, this year it is expected to fall around 45 percent, he said, noting that this would also translate to fewer votes cast for all parties. According to Závecz’s calculations, Fidesz is expected to receive 27 percent fewer votes this year, with Jobbik’s tally dropping by 59 percent and the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance’s by 41 percent. LMP is expected to see a drop of 53 percent and Momentum 20 percent, he added. DK is the only party expected to receive more votes compared with last year, with the party set for a 27 percent gain, Závecz said.

András Pulai, CEO of the Publicus Institute, said competition was expected to be tight between Jobbik, Socialists-Párbeszéd and DK for second place. Meanwhile, LMP and Momentum will likely battle for Hungary’s last MEP seat, he said.

Pulai said the outcome of the election would depend on how successful the various parties would be in mobilising their bases.

Citing a fresh Publicus survey, he said the leading issue among Hungarian voters was how much funding Hungary will be getting from the European Union in the next cycle, with 29 percent citing it as their top concern. Fully 19 percent of their respondents cited migration as their number one issue, Pulai added. Altogether 20 percent of respondents said they will vote for the parties they normally vote for.

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Peter Pillók, head researcher at Századvég, said LMP was sitting right around the 5 percent threshold with Jobbik on a “downward trajectory”. Momentum and Mi Hazánk, on the other hand, are getting stronger, he said.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI