40 percent of Hungarians would tighten Hungarian-US relations and 26 percent would maintain them at the same level. However, this does not mean complete agreement with the Biden administration, since the majority of Hungarians (59 percent) do not consider the billboard campaign of the US Embassy acceptable. Even more than a third (38 percent) of opposition voters think that Washington’s action in Hungary is unacceptable.
In recent weeks, the US Embassy in Budapest has taken several steps that can be seen as an unfriendly gesture against the pro-peace stance of the Hungarian government. First, a list of sanctions affecting Hungarian interests was announced at a press conference in Budapest, and then a pro-war billboard campaign was launched in many parts of the country. In the current war situation, it is particularly important to ask what Hungarians think of our country’s biggest Western ally and how they judge its billboard campaign.
26 percent of Hungarian voters are satisfied with the current level of Hungarian-US relations, 40 percent would further tighten them, and only 16 percent of Hungarians would rather weaken them. The majority of both government supporters (62 percent) and government critics (73 percent) would prefer to maintain or even strengthen Hungarian-US relations. 33 percent of those who support the Hungarian Prime Minister and 50 percent of those who are critical of him would prefer to deepen Hungarian-US relations. The proportion of those who are satisfied with the current situation is almost equal between those who support and those who are critical of the Prime Minister (29 and 23 percent respectively), and in both groups the position of reducing ties with the US is in the minority: 18 percent of government supporters and 8 percent of government critics think that relations should be reduced to a lower level. Overall, the majority of Hungarian voters support Hungarian-US relations.
Although a large majority of Hungarians would like to maintain or improve the current relations between Hungary and the US, the political billboard campaign of the US Embassy has triggered a completely opposite reaction. The majority of Hungarians (59 percent) do not find the US action acceptable and only one in four voters (26 percent) thinks that it is acceptable.
Even the group of those who would prefer closer ties is divided on the issue: in the same proportion, 43 percent of them consider the poster campaign acceptable and 43 percent think it is unacceptable. Among those who would prefer to maintain the current level of Hungarian-US relations, there is a two-thirds majority (68 percent) of those who disagree with the embassy’s action, compared to those who are in favour (25 percent). The billboard campaign also strengthened the scepticism of those who would prefer to weaken the relations with the United States. 88 percent of them consider the political action unacceptable, and only 8 percent find it acceptable.
Those who sympathise with the Prime Minister are more united on the issue: more than four-fifths (82 percent) think that the embassy’s billboard campaign is unacceptable, and only one in ten think it is acceptable. Opposition voters are divided on the issue: less than half (45 percent) of them are in favour of the billboard campaign, but more than a third (38 percent) have a critical opinion. Overall, it can be said that the political activism of the US embassy has not succeeded to convince the opposition voters either.
The latest opinion-poll of the Nézőpont Institute was conducted between 17 and 19 of April, 2023, by interviewing 1,000 respondents by phone. For all surveys, the sample is representative of the adult population (18 years and older) by gender, age, region, type of settlement and education. In case of a sample size of 1000 respondents and a confidence level of 95 percent, the sampling error is ± 3.16 percent. Respondent base = Hungarian voters, respondents who are willing to vote in the elections.