Fidesz sees significant drop in popularity according to Závecz poll

According to a Závecz Research poll conducted between May 7-14, 2017, the ruling Fidesz party has seen its support drop by 8% in Budapest and by 9% in larger rural towns. Meanwhile, the Jobbik party has seen its fortunes rise by 6% in these areas. All in all, a trend already detected by previous polls is continuing: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party is gradually bleeding away support in the largest population centres, and also among Hungarians who are employed in the private sector, while retaining its levels of support in villages, small rural towns and among those who work in the public sector.

In terms of national numbers, the Závecz Research poll shows Fidesz slipping from 27% to 25% over the last month. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) remains unchanged at 13%, while Jobbik’s numbers have risen from 11% to 12%. Support for the Democratic Coalition (DK) has been largely unchanged for months, hovering at around 4%, while the Politics Can Be Different green party (LMP) is also stagnating at 3%. The big change over the past weeks has been the sudden appearance of the youthful Momentum Movement, which went from complete obscurity just five months ago, to reaching 3% in this most recent poll and thus standing a chance of surpassing the minimum 5% threshold for parliamentary representation in the spring 2018 elections. The small centre-left Együtt party has improved its standing slightly and now stands at 2%, while the Liberals and the Two-Tailed Dog Party are both at 1% nationally. The number of undecided voters has dropped from 36% to 34%.

Závecz poll results for May 2017

The two political winners in the latest poll are undoubtedly Momentum and Jobbik. Momentum built a voting base of some 250,000 Hungarians in less than four months. Their challenge will be to expand this base, which is very heavily dominated by Hungarians under 40 years of age, to older demographics. Jobbik has also had a good month and seems to be recovering from its previous slump. In the past two months, Jobbik has increased its voting base by 5% in small rural towns and by 6% in villages. Jobbik and the stagnating MSZP now have a voting base of approximately 1 million Hungarians each. This compares to a Fidesz voting base that still has some 2 million voters.

The mass protests of April, the failure of the Budapest 2024 Olympic bid and the on-going saga of Central European University, as well as an increasingly desperate and irrational government hate campaign against the European Union, has led to a marked decline in support among Hungarians who live in the larger urban centres and who have more access to the outside, non-government regulated world, be it through independent media or through interpersonal interaction. Those making a living in the private sectors are also turning away from Fidesz (the party lost 5% support in this cohort). Based on Závecz’s numbers, we are seeing a gradual eroding of Fidesz support within different demographic circles, rather than a collapse. The problem for left-centre parties like MSZP, DK, Együtt, LMP or Momentum is that thus far, Jobbik seems to be the place of refuge for disenchanted Fidesz voters. This means that a difficult reality is worth repeating: in the current framework, it is exceedingly hard to imagine a change in government next year without a partnership between Jobbik and the left-centre parties.

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