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Poll shows opposition to border fence, concern for refugees

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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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