BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party extended its lead ahead of a six-party opposition alliance in a late-February survey by the pollster Median coinciding with the start of the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
The poll, conducted between Feb. 22 and 26, put support for nationalist Orban’s Fidesz at 39% of the electorate, unchanged from December levels, while the opposition shed 2 points to 32%.
Orban, who has showered the electorate with tax cuts and other benefits worth 1.8 trillion forints ($5.23 billion), will on April 3 face a united opposition front for the first time since taking office in a 2010 election landslide.
The opposition alliance includes the Democratic Coalition, the Socialists, liberals and the formerly far-right, now centre-right, Jobbik. Its candidate for prime minister is Peter Marki-Zay, an independent who is currently mayor of Hodmezovasarhely, a town in southern Hungary.
The ranks of the undecided increased to 20% from 13% in December, which the survey said reflected uncertainty within the opposition camp and falling support for fringe parties, such as the far-right Our Homeland, or the Two-tailed Dog Party.
The survey said Orban’s Fidesz had the strongest backing among older people, rural voters and the poor, while the opposition had larger reserves among young voters, urban populations and wealthier people.
With a little more than four weeks left until the ballot, another challenge for the opposition is a growing sense among the electorate that Orban is likely to get re-elected, with 67% expecting a Fidesz victory, up 4 points from December.
Only 45% of its own supporters see an opposition victory, the survey said, adding however that it could not yet gauge the impact of renewed falls in the forint to record lows and the escalating military conflict over the borders.
DATE AGENCY FIDESZ OPPOSITION UNDECIDED
Feb 22-26 Median 32 20
Jan 31-Feb 9 IDEA 38 34 13
Feb 2-10 Zavecz 38 36 20
Jan 20-25 Republikon 36 34 22
Jan 4-14 IDEA 39 37 10
Dec 4-7 Median 34 13
Dec 9-14 Republikon 33 36 24
Nov 2-12 Zavecz 37 41 14
Nov 2-3 Nezopont 56 42 2
Oct 25-29 Republikon 32 38 30
Oct 11-19 Zavecz 35 39 23
Sept 29-Oct 4 Median 37 37 17
Oct Szazadveg 50 44 6
Sept Zavecz 37 38 23
Sept 20-21 Nezopont 53 45 N/A
Aug 23-25 Nezopont 52 46 N/A
($1 = 344.2800 forints)
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Alison Williams)