The scandalous sound recording about Gergely Karácsony has had no long-term effect on the political race in the capital. Fifty-three percent of decided voters would vote for István Tarlós, 40 percent for Gergely Karácsony and as many as 7 percent for Róbert Puzsér, whereas Krisztián Berki currently has no identifiable voters, the research conducted by Nézőpont Institute for Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reveals.
Forty-four percent of Budapest voters think Gergely Karácsony’s fellow party members played a part in recording the leaked conversation (28 percent thinks they did not). Apparently, Mr Karácsony will survive the scandal showing his competence, his past in the district of Zugló and the condition of left-liberal cohesion in a negative light thanks to the “alternative facts” presented by the politicians of Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd) with a delay of three days. The explanation presented by the candidate may be one reason why 57 percent of Budapest voters thinks he does not have to withdraw from the mayoral race (however, 33 percent think he should).
Just before the start of the last campaign week, all indices suggest that the incumbent mayor of the capital has maintained his lead relative to his rivals. Sixty-seven percent of Budapest residents expect Tarlós to win (the corresponding rates are 18 percent for Karácsony and 1 percent for Puzsér); 62 percent consider Tarlós suitable for leading the city (Karácsony: 34%;Puzsér: 13%), and the election is a “done deal” in the opinion of 41 percent (49 percent does not agree).
Despite the data being unfavourable for Gergely Karácsony, a fierce fight is expected in the home stretch. For the politician of Párbeszéd, this election is also about survival: the leader of a sub-threshold party, failed prime ministerial candidate and outgoing district mayor may easily remain without a job if he turns out to be the runner-up in the mayoral race. It is interesting in this context that according to 25 percent of Budapest voters Karácsony should deal with Budapest-level politics even in case of defeat (as leader of the compensation list, he will certainly make his way to the General Assembly of Budapest), whereas 11% think he should be active in national politics and 48% say he should resign from politics and maybe find a new job in his original profession, as sociologist.
Now, just before the week that will be a watershed moment, it seems that Karácsony and Puzsér will have nothing to do at the City Hall, since 53 percent of Budapest voters would vote for István Tarlós, 40 percent for Gergely Karácsony and 7 percent for Róbert Puzsér. The outcome of an election always depends on mobilisation, but this does not give Karácsony too much hope either. Considering all Budapest residents, 49 percent sympathises with Tarlós, 29 percent with Karácsony and 7 percent with Puzsér.
The public opinion poll of the Nézőpont Institute was conducted between Oktober 3 and Oktober 6, 2019 in Budapest, including 500 telephone interviews. It is a representative sample of the capital population over the age of 18, based on gender, age and education, with a maximum sampling error of 3.2 percent.