New poll: Fidesz, Jobbik support drops, while Socialists gaining

The far-right Jobbik continues to slowly bleed away support, while after six months of increased popularity, the governing Fidesz party is also seeing a modest decline in its numbers. The boost in popularity that Fidesz experienced during the refugee crisis now appears to be waning, as that issue begins to recede. A new poll produced by Publicus for the Vasárnapi Hírek weekly found that after a long period of stagnation in the popularity of Hungary’s political parties, there now seems to be some modest movement and change–though it will take at least another round of polling to determine whether any of this forms part of a broader trend.

Fidesz still leads the pack by a long mile, registering 24% in support in the January Publicus poll. But the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) is now again the second strongest party, climbing one point from December, to 11% in support. Jobbik has declined by 1%, and also stands at 11%. In Jobbik’s case, this is the 9th consecutive month of a very slow, gradual erosion in its voting base. The reason we can now argue that MSZP is stronger than Jobbik and is, once again, Hungary’s second strongest political party, is because Socialist voters–who tend to be older than Jobbik’s voting base–are the most committed among Hungarian voters. At the moment, MSZP has a stable and committed base of around 900,000 voters.

The smaller parties in the Hungarian parliament are showing little change in their levels of support. Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (DK) stands at 4%, the Politics Can Be Different green party (LMP) is at 3% and the tiny, centrist Együtt (Together) party barely registers in this poll, with just 1% in support. (Admittedly, that is slightly higher than Együtt’s support in December, which was closer to zero. But that is little consolation.)

Critically, 44% of the 1,000 Hungarians polled indicated that they were undecided.

The Publicus poll, conducted for the Vasárnapi Hírek weekly, shows declining Fidesz and Jobbik support and modest rise in MSZP's popularity.

The Publicus poll, conducted for the Vasárnapi Hírek weekly, shows declining Fidesz and Jobbik support and modest rise in MSZP’s popularity.

With international events (terrorism and the refugee crisis) slowly fading, and with attention turning to a planned, major demonstration in the eastern Hungarian town of Miskolc by teachers and union activists on February 3rd, more attention may fall on domestic woes, and this does not bode well for Fidesz. Teachers from the Herman ­Ottó High School, along with thousands of teachers from other schools from around Hungary, who have expressed solidarity with the local teachers who are fighting an antidemocratic, highly centralized and dysfunctional national educational system, will march together, with torches, through Miskolc’s city centre. The event will be followed closely nationally.

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