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Political polling

Hungarians and Germans see each other’s countries positively, though there is disagreement on migration

Those harbouring a positive opinion of the other country form the majority in both countries, according to a survey carried out by Nézőpont Intézet in Germany and Hungary. However, there is a difference in the assessment of the Hungarian cabinet’s migration policy, with two-thirds (67 percent) of Hungarians supporting and the majority (55 percent) of Germans rejecting it. Curiously, the majority in both countries believe that the two states have equally profied of bilateral economic relations over the past ten years.

The poll points out that those harbouring a rather positive opinion of the other country form the majority in both countries. In Germany, the relative majority (48 percent) of respondents formed a positive opinion of Hungary. In the case of Hungary, the 53 percent share of those having a positive opinion of Germany is even more favourable. As opposed to this, 43 percent of Germans formed a negative opinion of Hungary, while less than a third (27 percent) of Hungarians have a rather poor opinion of Germany.

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Interestingly, younger Hungarians (aged 18-29) tend to have a far more positive opinion than the average on Germany (67 percent of this group view Germany in a positive light). In the case of Germany, there is no significant difference in the assessment of Hungary between various age groups.

The poll also points out that while the general image of each other is positive in both countries, there are major differences in the assessment of bilateral relations between Hungarians and Germans. While close to six in ten Hungarians (56 percent) have a rather positive opinion of bilateral ties and only three in ten (32 percent) are unsatisfied, the reverse of this is true among Germans. In Germany, 57 percent have a rather negative opinion of German-Hungarian relations and only 28 percent see bilateral ties positively.

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The assessment of political relations between the two countries paints a similar picture. Among Germans, similarly 57 percent have a rather negative view of this aspect of relations, while political ties between the two countries are seen positively by 26 percent. Hungarians are also more divided in this respect; while the relative majority (40 percent) assesses political relations positively, 35 percent have a negative opinion.

The assessment of bilateral relations and especially political ties, especially by German respondents, is supposedly heavily influenced by wholly different attitudes to the Hungarian government’s migration policies in the two countries. While supported by two-thirds (67 percent) of Hungarians, the majority of Germans (55 percent) do not agree with the Hungarian cabinet in this respect. At the same time, those willing to strengthen political relations between Germany and Hungary form the majority in both countries. 41 percent of Hungarians and 35 percent of Germans would further enhance political ties between the two countries, as opposed to only 28 percent of Hungarians and 24 percent of Germans favouring the relaxation of political relations.

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The picture is somewhat more positive with regard to the assessment of economic ties between the two countries. While 45 percent of Germans have a negative opinion in this area too, the share of those with a positive approach reaches one third (33 percent). Two times more, six in ten Hungarians (62 percent) have a positive opinion of economic relations between the two countries; only 14 percent sees these in a negative light.

34 percent of Germans and 59 percent of Hungarians support closer economic ties between the two countries. Among Germans, less respondents support the relaxation of economic relations than those opting for closer cooperation (28 percent). Only a fifth (20 percent) of Hungarians would prefer the relaxation of economic partnership.

The survey specifically extended to the question of which country is the primarily beneficiary of bilateral economic relations over the past ten years, according to respondents in Germany and Hungary. Curiously, the majority (38-38 percent) in both countries believes that the two countries equally benefited from cooperations. A similar share (38 percent in Germany and 37 percent in Hungary) claim that only one country benefited; while among Germans, 27 percent said that Hungary made the larger gain and only 11 percent argued that Germany made the greater advantage, this share is reversed in Hungary; 30 percent in Hungarians believe that Germany was the primary beneficiary, as opposed to only 7 percent who say that Hungary made the larger gain. The share of those claiming that economic relations over the past ten years were beneficial to neither country was 13 percent in Germany and 6 percent in Hungary.

Methodology:

The public opinion survey presented at Nézőpont Intézet’s event was carried out by Kutatópont Kft., a member of the Nézőpont Group. The telephone poll was conducted in Hungary and Germany between 26th September 2017 and 27th October 2017 by asking 1000 respondents in each country. The sample is representative by country of the given country’s population aged 18 and above by gender, age, region, settlement tyle and educational attainment, In the case of a 1000 person sample, the maximum margin of error is 3.2 percent.