In this research, we used a 28-question political compass to measure the degree to which different worldviews are represented in Hungarian society. We not only looked at how Hungarians feel about a wide range of issues after the 2022 elections, from taxation to abortion, but also at what has changed over the course of the last four years. By combining economic and social value categories, we also show how Hungarians can be classified into complex value groups.
- Hungarians' economic policy values: left-wing majority, but their share has declined. Left-leaning views remain in the majority in Hungarian society, but the main trend shows a decrease in the proportion of those on the economic left and an increase in those leaning towards the centre. Meanwhile, economic right-wing, pro-market views have not become more popular.
- The shift in economic views did not occur in Budapest, but in smaller municipalities.
- The socio-cultural values of Hungarians: a slight shift from conservative values towards the centre. Between 2018 and 2022, the share of progressives on socio-cultural issues increased by 1 percentage point (from 31% to 32%) and the share of centrists increased by 3 percentage points (from 30% to 33%).
- The widening of the urban vs. rural value gap is shown by the fact that the share of progressives in Budapest has increased by 13 percentage points in the last four years, while it has decreased by 8 percentage points in the villages.
- Changes in the impact of party political preferences also show a picture of increasing polarisation. Over four years, all opposition groups have seen an increase in the cultural gap compared to the government: all opposition camps are now culturally farther away from Fidesz than in 2018.
- Based on our data for 2018 and 2022, we also examined economic and socio-cultural world views in a two-dimensional space. The proportion of progressive-left respondents has not changed over four years: one third of Hungarians (32%) fall into this category. The most significant change is the decrease in the number of conservative-left respondents: 39% in 2018 and 29% in 2022. This represents a drop of 10 percentage points, well beyond the margin of error. The share of progressive-right and conservative-right respondents has increased slightly (by 3-3 percentage points for both groups), with 8% of the population in the former category and 10% in the latter. The share of centrists has increased from 7% to 12% in four years.
- There is a striking pattern in the breakdown of ideological value groups by settlement type. In Budapest, the share of progressive-left is 20 percentage points above the average (52%) and constitutes an absolute majority. The same proportion is 5 percentage points above the average in the county capitals (37%), while in the smaller municipalities it is 7-8 percentage points below the average (25% and 24%). The opposite trend is seen in the distribution of conservative-leftists by place of residence. This group is least represented in Budapest (16%), slightly more in the county capitals and small towns (23% and 27%) and particularly high in villages (41%).
- Economic policy issues: demand for state intervention and reduction of social inequalities remains high, but empathy for the poor and unemployed is waning.
- Socio-cultural issues: traditional family model and social homogeneity are popular, but Hungarians value individual freedom.
We used a survey conducted with the help of our partner, Závecz Research, between 25 April and 4 May 2022 as the basis for our analysis. The survey was based on personal interviews with 1,000 Hungarians who made up a representative sample of Hungarian society based on age, gender, educational attainment and the type of municipality they live in. This study was produced with the support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Budapest.
Authors: András Bíró-Nagy - Áron Szászi - Attila Varga
Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity, sustainability and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research.
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