Poll shows opposition to border fence, concern for refugees


The majority of Hungarians polled believe that the fence erected by the Hungarian government on the Serbian border does not prevent refugees from entering Hungary, and most say we have a responsibility to help the refugees, according to a survey published today and conducted by Publicus Research between September 10-14 on behalf of Hungarian weekly Vasárnapi Hírek.

According to the survey involving 1,000 Hungarians above the age of 18 contacted by telephone, a clear majority of respondents expressed solidarity with the refugees, and almost two-thirds (64%) said they believe it is our obligation to help in such a situation. Some 52% of the respondents said we should treat refugees more humanely, the research shows.

The research found that 78% of the respondents said they believe the Serbian border fence is unsuitable for halting the influx of refugees, while two months ago, only 67% of the respondents said they felt that way. Even the majority of those who identified themselves as supporters of the ruling Fidesz party (58%) said they believe that the fence is unsuitable for its intended purpose.

At the same time, 57% of the respondents said they do not support the idea that Hungary should accept more refugees than the country can handle. Only 37% of respondents expressed support for the idea of a quota system for distributing refugees among European Union member states, the research shows.

Some 87% of respondents said they believe that Europe will not be able to handle the masses of refugees streaming into the continent now. A slight majority (52%) oppose the idea of using arms to defend Hungary from refugees, while 41% say this is a good idea.

Hungaryʼs international reputation has been hurt by the way the government is handling this situation, according to 66% of the respondents, the research shows.

The research firm also asked respondents to rate the governmentʼs overall handling of the refugee situation on a scale of 1-5, with 5 indicting complete satisfaction. With an average score of exactly 3, respondents gave the government a medium grade overall. Only those identifying as Fidesz supporters assessed the handling of the governmentʼs as being better than medium-grade (3.8), while those who say they support the opposition Socialist party gave the lowest rating to the governmentʼs performance (2.3).


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