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Who Supports Linking Voting Rights to Education in Hungary?

The vast majority of voters decided much earlier about whom to vote for, the campaign didn’t really influence them, our Research Affiliate Zsolt Enyedi and Andrea Szabo write on, analyzing the results of a survey by Zavecz Research commissioned by the CEU Democracy Institute.

The post-election opinion poll was conducted between 25 April and 4 May 2022. In social sciences, the first major post-election survey is of particular importance because it shows how a given society experienced the parliamentary elections. The survey showed that compared to 2018, fewer Hungarians saw electoral fraud in this year's election, but the democratic institutional system itself is still held in low esteem by Hungarians.

More than 80% of voters said they had decided before the election campaign, or even years before, which party or party alliance they would vote for. However, one in five citizens could still have been influenced by the 1-2 months of the election campaign, and 10 per cent said they had decided to vote in the last 1 month and a further 9 per cent in the last week. This means that more than half a million domestic voters made their decision in the last month and almost half a million more in the last few days.

The campaign did influence the success of the far-right Our Homeland party, because it may well have depended on those voters who decided in the last week to vote at all.

According to the survey, the level of education has a significant impact on party choice, but it is important to see that Fidesz has also won among those with a university or college degree, although there is no doubt that over the last decade it has tended to gain support from the lower social strata while losing support from the upper strata. A third of the ruling party’s current voter base has completed 8 grades or less.

This social formula, together with stories of the mobilization of vulnerable citizens, may have contributed to the overwhelming majority of the society agreeing with the claim that the right to vote should be linked to completion of primary school.

Such a restriction of civil rights is not alien to the right-wing mindset, but the idea is also popular among liberals and left-wingers. Indeed, supporters of the opposition list are somewhat more inclined to accept the claim than Fidesz supporters, the survey showed.

Read the full analysis (in Hungarian) here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Erinthecute (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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