New poll spells trouble for Orbán ahead of Hungary’s referendum

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s national referendum against so-called EU-wide “migrant quotas”, scheduled for October 2nd, will likely be invalid, with fewer than 50% of eligible voters casting ballots. The Medián polling firm–perhaps the most reputable pollster in Hungary–was commissioned by the news site to conduct a poll less than a week before the national referendum. Only 42% of respondents indicated that they planned to participate in the Sunday plebiscite, falling well short of the minimum 50%-plus-one threshold. But of those participating, fully 83% plan to heed Prime Minister Orbán’s call and will vote “no” to EU migrant “quotas.” Only 13% will vote “yes” and 3% plan to cast an invalid ballot.

Fidesz and Jobbik supporters are equally likely to support the “no” side.  Among Fidesz supporters, the proportion voting “no” stands at 86%, while within the Jobbik camp this figure is slightly higher, at 88%. Fully 62% of Fidesz supporters plan to vote in the referendum, while the willingness to participate in this process is much lower among Jobbik sympathizers (47%).

Even supporters of left-centre opposition parties are more inclined to agree with Mr. Orbán in voting no (48%), although the proportion of left-wing voters that actually plans to cast a ballot on Sunday hovers at just 20%. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the Democratic Coalition (DK) and the Együtt (Together) party have all called on their supporters to boycott the referendum.

The Medián poll cautions that the most recent figures may not reflect any potential impact from this past weekend’s explosion in Budapest and heightened fears surrounding public safety and terrorism. But Mr. Orbán, after not commenting on the bombing for 65 hours, did finally come out and note that there is no correlation between the incident and the refugee/migrant crisis. “Although we can’t completely rule it out, there are no signs to the contrary at this time, and this is reassuring,” said Mr. Orbán. The prime minister added that he instructed Interior Minister Sándor Pintér to “hunt down” the perpetrator and to “extract from him” the reasons behind his attack.

Viktor Orbán inspecting the border fence between Hungary and Serbia. Photo: Facebook.

Viktor Orbán inspecting the border fence between Hungary and Serbia on September 14th. Photo: Facebook.

Speaking to a website affiliated with the Hungarian Reformed Church, on why he does not believe it possible to integrate refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Mr. Orbán declared: “You need to have a wild imagination to think that masses of young Afghan men would marry into traditional German Christian families, or that Christians would marry into Muslim families. The best that we can hope for is peaceful co-existence, but not integration. This is what we call parallel societies.”

On Sunday, 8.3 million Hungarian citizens are eligible to vote in the national referendum. Of these voters, a total of 274,591 Hungarians living abroad and in the diaspora are registered to vote via mail-in ballot.

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