In their fourth article on Telex.hu our Research Affiliate Zsolt Enyedi and Andrea Szabo analyzed the ideological environment of the Hungarian elections, based on a survey by Zavecz Research commissioned by the CEU Democracy Institute.
Their main measurement was left-right self-definition. “When people place themselves on a left-right scale,” the authors write, “they are not only following ideological criteria. Socialist voters, for example, tend to put themselves on the left even if they hold otherwise pro-market or culturally traditionalist views. Even so, left-right self-assignment is still the best indicator of political orientation and, being used worldwide, it also allows for international comparisons.”
The authors argue that elections rarely bring spectacular ideological battles, “campaigns are usually based on concrete promises, the identity of leading politicians or general sentiments such as a sense of security, a desire for renewal or tribal group identification.” Regardless of this, voters and parties are characterized by some, often vague ideological position, and the distribution of these positions limits electoral chances.
“The average Hungarian adult tends to be right-wing in his or her self-image,” Zsolt Enyedi and Andrea Szabo write. In the survey, conducted three weeks after the April elections, the average voter on a left-right scale of 0 to 10 was a six. There is nothing striking about this, they argue, as we are apparently not far from a five (the geometric mid-point of the scale), indicating a centrist perception. However, comparisons over time and space, and the internal distribution of self-attitudes, suggest that Hungary has developed a very specific ideological climate.
Read the full article (in Hungarian) here.