The more left-wing Hungarian online news service 444 recently published the results of an opinion poll that is quite a disappointment for the opposition alliance forged a few months ago under the leadership of Péter Márki-Zay. It is the first poll since seven opposition groups – from the post-communists to the formerly patriotic Jobbik – have agreed to run together in the next parliamentary election in April 2022.
444 headlines his article ‘Hetek óta vitatkoznak a kampány színein, miközben a Fidesz egyre csak erősödik’ (Engl.: ‘they have been arguing for weeks about the colours of the campaign, while Fidesz is gaining strength’) and writes (gathered and analogously):
“On Wednesday (15 December), the leaders of the opposition parties received the latest, as yet unpublished opinion poll commissioned by the new opposition campaign headquarters. The figures are sobering: Fidesz-KDNP gets 46% in the Sunday question, only 32% of the voters would vote for the list of the opposition coalition. In addition, 5% of the Mi hazánk mozgalom (Movement for Our Country; right-wing split from Jobbik, which maintains the originally patriotic direction) and another 4% prefer the Jux party Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt (Hungarian Party of the Two-tailed Dog). Finally, 12% of respondents say they either don’t vote at all or don’t want to give up their preference. 52% of respondents would like the current government to remain, and only 43% would prefer a change of government.”
Portal 444 sees behind this disaster the inaction of the opposition parties, which Fidesz has noted since mid-October, to go on the offensive again.
What a miracle: While Viktor Orbán represents the interests of the country and its inhabitants, the alliance of the opposition is bogged down in a myriad of internal debates, the formation of working groups and the development of communication plans.
“The decision-making process is usually rather cumbersome. In recent weeks, a number of committees and working groups have begun their work, some of which have met for 20 hours a week, but these practical decisions often get stuck as delegates from all parties have a veto right.”
It seems that the opposition has lost momentum since mid-October due to its purely inward-looking energy. This was also to be expected because Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose wife Klára Dobrev lost the primary against the conservative Péter Márki-Fay, is highly dissatisfied and also with the Momentum movement, which also belongs to the anti-Orbán alliance (practically only exists in Budapest, supported by wealthy traders and well connected in the capital’s gay scene), but also with the tiny dialogue group of the Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony is in dispute.
Particularly bitter for the seven parties that want to defeat Fidesz in April 2022: As recently as October, several opinion research institutes pointed out that Fidesz-KDNP and the alliance of the opposition are in fact on a par with a slight lead for the opposition.
As the renowned German-language “Budapester Zeitung” reported on 20 December, Péter Márki-Zay has clearly lost popularity since his election as the opposition’s top candidate. This is the result of the current survey by the Századvég Foundation. In October, after the second round of the opposition parties’ primary, 42% of respondents rated Márki-Zay positively and 47% negatively. In December, the verdict was: 36% positive and already 56% negative. Márki-Zay is rated predominantly positively only in Budapest (with 49%), while in the countryside 61% (!) see him as negative. Századvég’s poll shows that 44% of voters under the age of 40 like him, compared to only 30% of those over 40. Among pensioners, who always reliably go to the ballot box, the opposition candidate is very unpopular, only 24% consider him a good candidate, 66% reject him.
Márki-Zay is a kind of ticking time bomb that alienates many groups of voters. He describes Fidesz voters as mushrooms that are kept in the dark and fed with manure. In addition, he offends many with his demand for the abolition of the minimum wage, hurting especially low-income earners.
The Századvég surveys show that the governing parties Fidesz and KDNP (Christian Democrats) have a strong position in most age groups. Márki-Zay, on the other hand, is dragging down the opposition instead of inspiring it.
Conclusion: Fidesz has been significantly strengthened compared to the time of the opposition primary.