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PM Gyurcsány’s popularity index grows

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány increased his popularity rating by 6 points to 50 in a July Szonda Ipsos survey, narrowing the difference between him and his main rival Fidesz Chairman Viktor Orbán, who had a reading of 53, daily Népszabadság reported. Orban, who added 3 points since the May poll, was the fifth most popular among the country's active politicians, while Gyurcsány ranked sixth, the newspaper reported, citing the survey of 1,500 Hungarians conducted between July 15 and 21. The next election is due in the second quarter of 2006. The two politicians faced each other in a televised debate July 8. Gyurcsány's ratings among people who have not decided which party they would vote for rose 9 points to a reading of 50, according to the newspaper. Fidesz had a 32% support among all eligible voters in July, compared with 24% for the Socialists, a separate Szonda poll Népszabadság carried on July 29 showed. That compares with 28 % and 23% respectively in May.