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Polls suggest referendum will be valid

September 16th, 2016

Although polls consistently show that a majority of voters plan to take part, a commentator who is critical of the government still sees a slight chance that the 2 October referendum on migrant quotas might yet be invalid.

In its latest poll for Index, Závecz Research found that a stable 53 per cent of Hungarian  voters plan to cast their votes on October 2nd, just as in previous months. Nevertheless, they measured a slight drop (from 41 to 36 per cent of the total) in the ratio of those who expect to vote ’no’ as proposed by the government (which would still amount to 75 per cent of the votes cast).

On Kettős Mérce, András Jámbor thinks the combined effect of five factors may still produce a failure for the government.

  1. Polls usually overstate the expected turnout by a margin of about 5 per cent. If this is the case this time, the referendum will not be valid.
  2. The opposition campaign may exert some influence on undecided voters, and it has just started.
  3. Fidesz voters may not be as zealous as they used to be and that is why the governing party has lost most by-elections over the past two years.
  4. The government campaign is too harsh and ubiquitous, which may trigger a boomerang effect.
  5. The European Union might make it clear at its summit in Bratislava on Friday that it does not intend to impose refugee resettlement quotas on member countries after all.

Jámbor believes that Fidesz would find it hard to claim victory if the turnout is under 40 per cent, and he sees a fair chance for that to happen. Nevertheless, he admits that future  incidents that cast a bad light on migrants may shift the balance in favour of the government.


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