Populism in Europe: Hungary

Over the last decade, nationalist populist parties and movements have been growing in strength across Europe. These parties are defined by their opposition to immigration and concern for protecting national and European culture, sometimes using the language of human rights and freedom. On economic policy, they are often critical of globalisation and the effects of international capitalism on workers’ rights. This is combined with ‘anti-establishment’ rhetoric and language used to appeal to widespread disillusionment with mainstream political parties, the media and government. Often called ‘populist extremist parties’ or ‘the new right’, these parties do not fit easily into the traditional political divides.

In Hungary, Jobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobb Magyarországért Mozgalom; Jobbik hereafter), is the most successful far-right party to emerge in two decades. Founded in 2003, it is now the third largest political party in Hungary. Its ideology is strongly nationalistic, combining opposition to capitalism and liberalism with anti-Semitic and anti-Roma rhetoric. The Jobbik party has been particularly effective at mobilising young Hungarians, by using online communication and messages to amplify its message, recruit new members and organise. Indeed, the online social media following on Facebook of Jobbik is greater than its official membership list. This mélange of virtual and real-world political activity is the way millions of people—especially young people—relate to politics in the twenty-first century. This nascent, messy and more ephemeral form of politics is becoming the norm for a younger, digital generation.

This report presents the results of a survey of over 2,000 responses from Facebook fans of Jobbik. It includes data on who they are, what they think, and what motivates them to Executive summary 15 shift from virtual to real-world activism. In order to provide a   richer picture, we have compared these results against a 2011 poll of Jobbik voters collected by the Tárki Social Research Institute, and analysed by the Political Capital Institute.

 Facebook was selected because it is the most widespread  and popular social media website used by supporters of the  Jobbik party. As of 17 January 2012, the party’s official Facebook profile had 37,682 fans. For two months in the summer of 2011 we targeted adverts at individuals who were supporters of Jobbik-related groups on Facebook. On clicking the advert, individuals were redirected to a survey, which they were invited to complete. The survey and adverts were presented in Hungarian, and were then translated back into English for the purposes of this report. In total, the final data consist of 2,263 responses. The data were then weighted in order to improve the validity and accuracy of any inferences made about the online population. Although online recruitment in social research is widespread, self-select recruitment via social network sites brings novel challenges. Because this is an innovative research method with both strengths and weaknesses, we have included a methodology section in an annex to this report.

The original English version of the study is available here.

Categories Events | Tags: | Posted on January 30, 2012

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