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Eurobarometer: Hungarians Widely Dissatisfied With Gov’t and Economy

Seven out of ten Hungarians think that the country’s economy is in bad shape, and every other Hungarian is dissatisfied with their own personal financial situation, according to a new Eurobarometer poll based on interviews conducted in January and February. The results show that Hungarians consider higher prices and the cost of living as the most serious problems facing the country by far.

Dissatisfaction has increased much more in Hungary over the past six months than the average in the European Union. This has been accompanied with a significant loss in confidence in the Hungarian government and Parliament during this period, though confidence in the government is still higher than the extent to which the average EU citizen views their own decision-making political institutions.

There is also widespread dissatisfaction with the media and the functioning of Hungarian democracy. Only three out of ten Hungarians trust the media, while 16% of left-wing sympathizers and 76% of those on the right wing are pleased with how well democracy is run in the country. More Hungarians have trust in democratic functioning within the EU than in Hungary, although there are fewer of these than there were half a year ago.

In just the past six months, there has been a 12% drop in the number of people who hold favorable views of the European Union. At present, only 39% of Hungarians have a positive opinion of the EU, 6 percentage points below the EU average.

According to the Eurobarometer poll, this decrease was primarily a result of younger people changing their views of the EU, but it was seen in other age groups as well. Only 32% of those aged 15-24 hold a positive opinion of the Union.

Over the last six months, the number of those satisfied with the Hungarian government’s reaction to the Russian occupation of Ukraine has also dropped significantly, from 69% to 52%. A similar number of Hungarians was satisfied with the European Union’s response to the conflict.

Over half of the Hungarian population agrees with the EU’s stances on the war, but this proportion is lower than the EU average: an average of 74% of those in the EU approve of imposing sanctions on Russia, while this amount is just 56% in Hungary. [Népszava]

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  1. Misi bácsi

    Thanks for this article. Oddly, segments of the Hungarian public appear conflicted i.e. on the one hand, only “three out of ten Hungarians” trust the media, but only 39% have a positive view of the EU and the numbers appear worse among younger people. Given the media bias against the EU, I am not surprised, but how does one reconcile the lack of trust in the media with a decline in EU positivity among Hungarians? I fear that years of Orwellian regime media newspeak along with a deteriorating situation in the schools have severely compromised critical thinking skills. Given the last century of fascism, nazism and communism, developing critical thinking skills has been an uphill struggle. Perhaps our host and editor could comment on the seeming contradiction that I infer.

    • Steven

      I’m not really sure what to make of this poll – it could just be a temporary loss of confidence in the EU as the war drags on and inflation remains stubbornly high…

  2. Michael Detreköy

    Depending on the situation, dissatisfaction is often expressed abstractly in Hungary, but generally stays at a high level.
    The overall impression, is that people in Hungary don’t expect to be heard or included in public discussions about economic and EU policies, unless they agree with the government, and tend to accept whatever the government says with a shrug of the shoulders, even though they might not agree at all.

  3. Michael Detreköy

    Misi – You once described something called “Bandwagon Effect” (I think).
    I forgot the precise definition, but given the media landscape in Hungary, I think it affects all opinion polls in the country.
    Could I ask you to refresh the meaning and effects of the “Bandwagon” concept?

  4. Misi bácsi

    Sorry to be late with my clarification, albeit you have an excellent memory Michael as I did once use the expression in question in Eva’s old publication! “Bandwagon effect” refers to our human tendency to do or believe things because many others do or believe the same. Basically, this is a form of herd or crowd behavior . Very similar to “group think.” Your comments about Hungarian media and the attendant public opinion polls accurately reflects how bandwagon effect works in practice. However, we are all at risk of this cognitive bias. Happy Easter and Passover and Happy Ramadan to any one celebrating that holiday. My old days practicing psychology are not finished albeit I am now age 75.

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