Tárki: Xenophobia on the rise in Hungary

May 7, 2015

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Xenophobia is higher in Hungary than ever, reports Hungarian pollster company Tárki.  Fear of foreigners is especially high among the voters of radical right-wing party Jobbik and socialist MSZP, and in the southwestern part of the country. The most feared ethnic group are the Arabs.

According to a report published in April by Hungarian pollster Tárki 46 percent of the adult population responded that asylum seekers should not be allowed to enter Hungary.  By contrast, only 9 percent of the respondents said that all asylum seekers should be admitted unconditionally.  45 percent said asylum seekers should be admitted or rejected depending on the merits of the case.

New post-2001 record

The pollster company has been examining xenophobia in Hungary since 1992. The highest level so far was reported back in 2001 when 43 percent of the respondents were considered xenophobic. In 2012 the ratio of xenophobes started to rise and in 2013 and 2014 the ratio was higher than the average of the 2000s.

Among those who would consider receiving foreigners depending on the merits of the case,  94 percent would reject Arabs.  By contrast, only 7 percent would reject ethnic Hungarians living in the neighboring countries.   The rejection rate of Gypsies is almost as high as the Arabs. The rate in the case of people from China, Africa and Romania is above 70 percent.

The rejection rate of Pirezians (a fictional ethnic group invented by Tárki) is also high, around 60 percent – the report concluded.

The following groups are less receptive to foreigners than average:

  • Jobbik supporters
  • MSZP supporters
  • those who are struggling with financial problems or afraid of a worsening financial situation
  • people living in the southwest of Hungary
  • unemployed people
  • Hungarians between the ages of 40 and 50

The lowest xenophobic rate–20 percent–can be seen among those with college degrees  Interestingly this increases to 35 percent in the case of those with advanced degrees.