A recent study has revealed that Hungarians feel very much threatened by issues that are actually directly affecting their livelihoods, especially now, with the economic crisis the pandemic has caused, which may last a long time. The crisis may put the current Hungarian government to the test and may grant the opposition a chance to win voters over by a more socially sensitive crisis management plan for the 2022 elections.
The survey, which was conducted by András Bíró-Nagy, Gergely Laki, and Áron Szászi with Policy Solutions and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the biggest problems in Hungary are the standard of healthcare services, low salaries, and the high cost of living, reported 24.
By the beginning of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, 43% of Hungarians indicated that the high cost of living is amongst the top three problems of the country, as opposed to 20% a year prior.
In fourth and fifth places on the list of problems are social inequalities, which are considered high and increasing by 37%, and low pensions with 22%. Corruption came in at sixth place, compared to the previous year’s fourth place.
The complete list of problems mentioned in the survey are:
Migration was only the main problem for 8% of the people who took part in the survey, despite the government’s anti-immigration campaigns over the past couple of years.
If we take a look at what different age groups deem as an important or urgent problem, we can see that everyone is concerned with what directly affects them. Low pension is the most frequently mentioned problem among people over 60 (58%) and the least frequent among 18-29-year-olds (4%). Likewise, low salaries ranked first place for young people (51%), but it came in only at fifth place for the elderly (27%). The authors of the research, however, warn that concerns about income among all age groups might indicate an unfolding livelihood crisis.
There is a harsh contrast between how people who only completed 8 years of school and people who graduated from university see issues. For instance, people with less formal education are more concerned about the difficulty of living in smaller settlements, while those with degrees worry more about corruption, education, and the environment.
82% of Hungarians, including 72% of Fidesz voters, agree that the state should be responsible for reducing social inequalities, which was one of the most important findings of the survey.
78% of Hungarians would support a progressive tax system, while only a fifth of the population agrees with the government that flat-rate taxation is the best and most fair option for equally sharing social burdens.
69% of people who sympathise with Fidesz think that the rich should pay their fair share in taxes, while only 8% of all participants think that there is no need to tax huge fortunes more.
63% of Fidesz supporters would agree with the introduction of a basic income in Hungary, despite the governing party repeatedly refusing to introduce one. Actually, 73% of all Hungarians support the notion, which is a 6% increase compared to the survey conducted two years ago.
70% of Hungarians think that job seekers – or the unemployed – should be provided help and support longer than just three months. Two years ago, only 54% believed so. 77% of those with a primary school education and 60% of those with college degrees agreed.
When it comes to the state helping people buy their own homes, Fidesz supporters are quite divided, with 41% saying everyone deserves help purchasing a home, and 55% saying that those who could buy a home on their own should not be helped. Supporters of Momentum are quite permissive on the issue, but some MSZP voters might support the narrowing of those who qualify for the subsidy.
94% of the Hungarian population support energy-efficient building renovations, 92% support switching to renewable green energy sources, 89% are for taxing polluting companies more, 89% support VAT rebates for organic food, 70% think banning old and polluting cars from traffic is a good idea, 70% support introducing an environmental airline tax – although because of the crisis in the aviation industry caused by the pandemic, this might have to wait –, and 54% also support introducing a carbon tax.
57% of people would not spend more on green products; however, Momentum supporters contrast other party sympathisers, as they are the only ones – with 56% – who would be willing to pay more money for green products. In most settlements, the number of people saying no were around 60%, those saying yes were around 33%, but in Budapest, 48% of participants voted yes, as opposed to the 41% saying no.
The number of people satisfied and dissatisfied with the government’s climate policy is almost the same, with 47% being dissatisfied, and 44% being satisfied. Non-supporters of Fidesz were dissatisfied with the government’s green policy, while only one-quarter of Fidesz sympathisers voiced their criticism of the policies.
56% of people living in Budapest were not satisfied with the government’s green policy, 86% of them support banning polluting cars, and 72% support a carbon tax. Young people tend to be more upset by the government’s climate policy, and they are the ones who would pay more for products that were more environmentally conscious.
40% of Fidesz voters, and 57% of all participants of the survey, think that the nuclear power plant of Paks should not be expanded, despite it being one of the biggest investments of the government. 51% of Fidesz supporters think the expansion should be carried out.
The majority of the participants of the survey said that Fidesz was credible when it comes to ensuring economic development, housing policy, and improving rural living conditions, while the opposition is more credible in anti-corruption, healthcare, ensuring a living wage, and reducing inequality. One-third of voters found neither side credible in any of the topics.
About the credibility of the opposition’s coalition, Jobbik’s supporters are the most sceptical, although seven out of 10 of them find the opposition more credible, MSZP’s supporters have the most faith in the opposition’s credibility, followed by DK, then Momentum. Two-thirds of those without a party do not consider either side trustworthy, but those who expressed their opinions preferred the opposition as well.
The majority of those with a primary school education find the government credible, while the exact opposite can be said for university graduates.
People with a primary school education find the opposition more credible about representing workers and reducing social inequalities but find the government more reliable about housing, economic development, and the improvement of life in smaller settlements and villages. Those with degrees think the opposition is credible about healthcare, environmental protection, social housing policy, and providing a living wage, but they prefer the government when it comes to economic policy.
18-29-year-olds found the opposition convincing in fighting corruption, and the older population was convinced by their advocating for workers, reducing social inequality, and ensuring a living wage. For the government, economic development, improvement of rural life, as well as fair housing remain the main points in which they are found credible.
87% of the survey’s participants agreed that a woman should be paid the same amount for the same work as a man. 68% think that violence against women should be a talking topic, and only one-fourth of respondents find the topic to be over-exaggerated.
When it comes to the support of our Roma compatriots, the participants are equally divided, with 48% per cent saying it should be prioritised, and 48% saying it is not necessary. Two years ago, however, only 36% supported priority support.
Only 35% of the respondents support same-sex marriage, while 58% oppose it. 65% of the supporters of the government reject the notion, while 52% of DK voters support it.