In our research, we used three methods to assess the degree of affective polarization in Hungarian society. These are 1) the emotional thermometer (how respondents feel about politicians and voters of their own and the opposite camp), 2) the social distance between political groups (how would they feel if someone from the other political camp moved into their neighborhood) and, 3) the prevalence of political stereotypes.
- Both Fidesz voters and opposition voters dislike each other's politicians more than voters of the opposite camp
- After the 2022 elections, the level of mutual disapproval of the two major political camps has decreased, but opposition voters still have a lower opinion of the Fidesz side than vice versa
- The level of affective polarization is lower in Hungary than in the USA
- Despite political divisions, there is a common point: the rejection of Roma and Muslim people
- The majority of government and opposition voters consider each other brainwashed
- One in six Hungarians have had a relationship ruined by politics
- Half of opposition voters and a third of Fidesz voters cannot imagine being in a romantic relationship with a voter from the other political camp
- Eight out of ten opposition voters believe that Fidesz can no longer be democratically replaced
- Hungarians are also strongly divided by the Russian-Ukrainian war
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 generous 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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