Hungary Dissatisfied with Democracy, but Not its Ideals

  • April 07, 2010

With parliamentary elections approaching, Hungarians are in a funk. Nearly unanimously, they say the economy is in bad shape, and a stunning 72% say most Hungarians are actually worse off now economically than they were under communism. But Hungary's malaise is not all about economics--most are frustrated with politics too. Overwhelmingly, Hungarians are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working and discontent with political elites, with about three-in-four saying political corruption is a major problem. A fall 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project highlights the degree to which, even in a region where disillusionment is common, Hungarians stand out.

All of this bodes well for the electoral prospects of Fidesz, the right-of-center opposition party, which is expected to soundly defeat the incumbent social democrats in the upcoming elections. However, these findings do not mean Hungarians are rejecting democratic values. In fact, as the survey illustrates, they are more likely than other former Eastern bloc publics to say it is very important to live in a country with democratic rights and institutions. But few believe Hungary currently has these democratic freedoms.

Read the full report Hungary Dissatisfied with Democracy, but Not its Ideals on the Pew Research Center's Web site.