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Contradictory polls - Median, Publicus

Pollsters in Hungary might have some explaining to do after Sunday's elections. However all of them show the Democratic Coalition above the 5% treshold.

A new poll by Publicus published Thursday seems to largely contradict a poll released Wednesday by Medián, which had predicted a two-thirds majority for Fidesz, thanks to what they believe is the successful mobilization of pro-Orbán voters.
If the opposition needs any further impetus to somehow coordinate and get its act together, a new poll by Medián should give them reason for alarm. According to one of Hungary's most reputable polling firms, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz is on track to win a two-thirds majority on Sunday–performing better than he did in 2014. This is based on the prediction that Fidesz has managed to effectively mobilize its voters in rural Hungary, especially in villages. It's worth noting that Medián is the only pollster predicting a super majority for Fidesz.
When it comes to votes for party lists, through which 93 seats are decided, Medián predicts (and the polling firm tries to take into consideration the impact of voters that are hiding their true intentions):
◾FIDESZ: 46%
◾JOBBIK: 19%
◾MSZP-Párbeszéd: 14%
◾Politics Can Be Different (LMP) 7%
◾Democratic Coalition (DK): 6%
◾Momentum: 3%
◾Együtt: 1%
◾Two-Tailed Dog Party: 1%
◾Other parties: 3%

These polling numbers also have a bearing on votes cast on the second ballot, for individual riding-level candidates in 106 electoral districts. But the most significant factor here is whether the opposition parties are able to unite and field a single candidate in swing ridings. On Wednesday morning, MSZP-P, DK and Együtt reached an agreement impacting a dozen electoral districts, where the Fidesz candidate will face a more united centre-left.
Traditionally, it was believed that higher turn-out favours the opposition. Medián's new poll calls traditional wisdom into question. Fully 66% of respondents are committed to voting on Sunday, but one of the most significant jumps in projected turn-out is in villages, where Fidesz is the strongest. In Hungary's smallest communities, 68% of respondents indicated they would vote (up from 54% merely one month ago). Fidesz is mobilizing successfully. Fidesz support in villages stands at 48% according to this poll.

According to Publicus, however, Fidesz support is dropping and pro-government voters are uncertain. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stands to lose his majority in parliament if turnout on Sunday exceeds 70%, opening the door for the fractured opposition parties to cobble together some type of government. Crucially, Publicus found that 74% of respondents indicated that they plan to vote on Sunday. If this number is correct, turnout will be higher than in any previous Hungarian national election since 1990.
The Publicus poll, commissioned by the Vasárnapi Hírek weekly, shows Fidesz down by two percent, Jobbik up by two percent and the Hungarian Socialist Party – Párbeszéd (MSZP-P) up by one percent. The full results, among decided voters, are as follows:
◾FIDESZ: 45%
◾JOBBIK: 20%
◾MSZP-P: 19%
◾Politics Can Be Different (LMP): 7%
◾Democratic Coalition (DK): 5%
◾Momentum: 2%

Publicus found that a growing number of Hungarians are concealing their voting intentions. Overall, 37% of Hungarians claim to be undecided, but Publicus estimates that 44% of this cohort are actually hiding their true voting intentions. This represents close to 400,000 voters.

The way Publicus sees it, Fidesz can win a two thirds majority if turnout is below 65%, but Mr. Orbán may find himself in a minority and unable to form a government if turnout exceeds 70%. The theory that high turnout helps the opposition overall and complicates matters for Fidesz is in line with what most pollsters and observers have long believed, except for Medián in its most recent poll. There is one caveat, however. High turnout, according to Publicus, might endanger the ability of both DK and LMP to reach the minimum 5% threshold of parliamentary representation on the party list ballot. If this is the case, Fidesz–presumably the largest party–stands to benefit when seats from this list are allocated to the parties above the threshold. This does not, however, preclude both LMP and DK from still being present in parliament, albeit in a heavily reduced fashion, if they win seats at the riding level on the second ballot. Együtt, though not expected to pass the 5% threshold, is also likely to win at least one seat at the riding level.
Publicus found that the most loyal Fidesz voters today are Hungarians with a Grade 8 education or less and who live in rural communities. In contrast, the demographic cohorts most desiring a change in government are educated youth from Budapest, between 18 and 29 years of age.

The Publicus poll seems to be more in line with new seat projections released by Republikon on Thursday. The opposition has a chance of pushing Fidesz into minority territory if it wins in most of the 21 electoral districts where a very close result is expected (with a margin of less than 5% between the two largest formations). At the moment, however, Republikon is predicting a Fidesz majority, but not a two-thirds majority, with the following seat projections:
◾FIDESZ: 113
◾MSZP-P: 33
◾DK: 13
◾LMP: 7
◾Együtt: 2
◾Independent: 2 (Both supported by the left.)

Geographically, MSZP-P and DK are strongest in Budapest and in the surrounding Pest county, as well as in some of Hungary's largest cities, particularly Miskolc, Pécs and Szeged. Jobbik is expected to win seats at the district level in eastern Hungary, especially in Heves county, which is also where the party's leader, Gábor Vona, is running as a candidate.

Republikon emphasizes: there is a consensus across the board in the polling industry that Fidesz support is being overestimated in all of these surveys.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 April 2018 19:51

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