BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s ruling right-wing Fidesz party has significantly increased its lead over opposition parties by September from June, most probably due to its tough clampdown on mass migration, pollster Ipsos said on Monday.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has built a fence to keep out migrants on the Serbian border and is now building a similar 3.5-metre-high steel fence on the Croatian border as well.
Under Orban’s new laws, many of those who formally seek asylum in Hungary face rejection within hours. He has said that Muslims risk outnumbering Christians in Europe and his government has mounted an anti-immigration campaign.
His tough policy chimes with many in Hungary, who say they are paying the price of an overly-tolerant West and a negligent Greece that failed to enforce EU rules by registering and holding migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey.[ID:nL5N11N3RN]
Ipsos said Orban’s Fidesz party boosted its public support to 24 percent by mid-September from 20 percent in June, while the second strongest political force, the far-right Jobbik party weakened to 14 percent from 15 percent.
The Socialists rose to 10 percent from 9 percent.
Ipsos research director Tibor Zavecz said they did not have a separate survey on public attitude towards migration.
However, he said Fidesz could strengthen its core voter base and also attract 300,000 supporters from among the undecided camp with its tough policy of “keeping order”.
“The series of actions which the government has implemented in the past months regarding this issue (of mass migration) could surely attract 300,000 people,” he said. Ipsos said Fidesz had 1.9 million supporters in September.
“Only Fidesz showed a strong stance on this...it seems other political parties could not really benefit from this issue,” he added.
The undecided camp declined to 38 percent from 44 percent according to the survey which Ipsos carried out between Sept. 7 and 15. Ipsos said Fidesz could gain supporters mainly among 30 to 40 year old people.
However among Hungarians below 30, Jobbik continues to be the most popular at 27 percent compared with 16 percent for Fidesz, Ipsos said.
Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Angus MacSwan