Russia Elections 2018: The Big Roundup


Meddling in the Russian elections.

I voted for Zhirinovsky on March 18, 2018.

Have said all there is to say on that in these articles:

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the bigger picture.

PS. Note that I will also have separate posts on the results in Crimea and Chechnya, which were particularly interesting and important as pertains to understanding Russia.

Election Results

Main sources:

Results as of: 99.94% of ballots processed (17:15 19.03.2018 MSK)

. RESULTS AK Predictions
Baburin 0.65% 0.8%
Grudinin 11.77% 9.7%
Zhirinovsky 5.65% 7.8%
Putin 76.69% 76.2%
Sobchak 1.68% 2.0%
Suraykin 0.68% 0.5%
Titov 0.76% 0.5%
Yavlinsky 1.05% 1.3%
Turnout 67.98% 68.0%

Not to particularly brag, but my predictions [see others] were pretty good, and considerably better than both the average [Putin = 68.7%] and the VCIOM predictions market [Putin = 71.8%].

So perhaps I do know a few things about Russia after all.

Who Won?

Well, Putin did, overwhelmingly so, with 76.7% of the vote versus 63.6% in 2012.

Moreover, thanks in part to a state-sponsored rock the vote campaign, turnout exceeded 2012 levels by a few percentage points, exceeding both pessimistic expectations and dealing a heavy reputational blow to Navalny, who staked his bets on an elections boycott.

Critically, Putin managed all this with much less electoral fraud than in 2012 [more details below].

This is very important not just from a moral/ethical viewpoint, but from a cynical game theoretical one as well:

Why does the Kremlin still bother to falsify when it could enjoy greater legitimacy by keeping them clean? There are academic theories that electoral fraud, even when victory is assured, is still “rational” from the POV of an authoritarian ruler. Falsification helps you signal such overwhelming dominance that it effectively demoralizes the opposition {Simpser 2013}. But this can backfire (see the Moscow protests in 2011), and besides, there are very real benefits even for authoritarian polities to keep their elections clean – namely, to credibly signal regime strength and to receive reliable information on their true level of political support. These benefits are especially germane for dictators with “rich financial resources, disciplinary ruling organizations, and weak opposition” {Higashijima 2014). Russia satisfies all three conditions.

Allow me to advance a more banal thesis: Electoral fraud in Russia is largely a function of regional corruption as opposed to a conscious game theoretic strategy, and one which the Kremlin is as little interest in addressing as corruption in its own elite ranks (post-2011 Moscow is the only prominent exception to this).

So I am pleasantly surprised by the improvements.

Putin enjoyed a very broad-based surge in support, including amongst the intellectual elites: For instance, Putin went from being beaten 45%-30% by Prokhorov [liberal] in 2012 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, this time he won 46%, beating out the combined totals of the two liberals, Sobchak and Yavlinsky, as well as of Grudinin.

Although my relative optimism on Zhirinovsky was not fully borne out, Grudinin and the Communists can be considered to have lost.

The Communist candidate’s share of the vote fell from 17.2% in 2012, or almost triple that of Zhirinovsky’s 6.2%, to just 11.8%, or just slightly more than double Zhirinovsky’s 5.7%.

This is the worst electoral performance of the KPRF in the Presidential Russia in all of post-Soviet history; even the non-entity Nikolay Kharitonov eked out 13.7% in 2004.

This is in the context of the Communists replacing the old warhorse Zyuganov, who was consistently trailing Zhirinovsky in the polls by almost one-to-two, to field a non-KPRF member and strawberry minigarch who appealed to some liberals (he was the only major candidate to whom Navalny has been respectful), small business owners, and even a few nationalists (was supposed by a few marginal national democrats such as Yury Boldyrev and Andrey Savelev, although the latter disavowed him after the commies refused to let his followers fly their imperial banner)*.

It’s also not like Grudinin scared away the hardcore Marxists – the purists had the nut job Suraykin with his “Ten Stalinist Blows Against Capitalism and American Imperialism” program, who ended up with less than 1%.

This was not of course a great performance by Zhirinovsky either – voters did appreciate him bullyciding Xenia Sobchak off the debate stage quite as much as I did.

But surprisingly, it was not nearly as bad as Grudinin’s performance. The fact is that Zhirinovsky traditionally does much worse than his party – he got 5.7%, which is exactly half of what the LDPR got in 2016, when it nearly caught up to the KPRF, which got 13.6%. However, Grudinin with his 11.8% actually did worse than the KPRF; the only other electoral cycle this had happened in was in 2011-12, when the KPRF unexpectedly became a huge magnet for protest votes.

Grudinin needed to revive the party’s fortunes and rescue it from its death spiral; he himself may have expected to do better, promising to shave his mustache in an interview with Russian YouTube sensation Yury Dud’ if he failed to achieve at least 15%. Just days after not getting elected, Grudinin began to go back on his promises, stating that he would now only follow through on the deal if Dud’ was to openly state that the elections were fair.

There is no point in discussing the liberals Yavlinsky, Sobchak, let alone the other three, because they do not constitute even halfway serious political entities.

However, the biggest loser to them all is the guy who was most prominent by his absence: Navalny.

Putin’s much higher base popularity relative to 2012, electorally certified, coupled with the relatively much cleaner nature of this election, means that Navalny will now have an exceedingly difficult time getting people out into the streets. I no longer even expect a repetition of the ~10,000 strong protests of 2017, let alone the ~100,000 strong protests of 2011-12. I now more than half suspect that Navalny will start fading away into the margins, like in 2013-2016.

Electoral Fraud

Western journalists (Leonid Bershidsky excepted) are predictably moronic on this matter:


Which is why instead of subscribing to The Daily Telegraph, you read me for free – though feel free to change that:

Exit polls are a good test for the absence of massive fraud (assuming the pollsters are not cooking the figures too).

As we can see, they matched the actual results [Putin = 76.7%] pretty well.

FOM exit poll [Putin = 73.3%]:


VCIOM exit poll [Putin = 73.9]:


This doesn’t necessarily prove that there was no fraud, as I explained in what is perhaps the most comprehensive popular survey on this topic: Measuring Churov’s Beard: The Mathematics of Russian Election Fraud

Sergey Shpilkin popularized the use of statistics to estimate Russian electoral fraud in the 2011-12 electoral cycle, the theory being that votes for candidates relative to turnout must be proportional to each other. (This assumption does not always hold; for instance, in Russia’s case, rural voters who tend to vote for Putin, also tend to have higher turnout, so this method tends to overestimate fraud. However, excessive deviations are not statistically plausible).

Here are the result of this analysis for the current elections.


For comparison, here is a similar graph on the 2011 Duma elections, in which United Russia got around 8-10% more than it “should have” and which marked an all time peak in Russian electoral fraud.


One can see even with the naked eye that there was far less fraud in 2018 than in 2011, though it is still much worse than in the 1990s. This is in fact the fairest Russian election since 2004.

I will have a couple of separate articles on the implications with respect to two regions, Chechnya and Crimea, in the following days.

Dmitry Kobak, another statistician, estimates that real turnout was 61-62% [official = 68.0%] and that Putin’s real share of the vote was 74-75% [official = 76.7%].


Although he, like most who statistically expose Russian electoral fraud, is anti-Putin, he disputes Navalny’s claim that real turnout was 55%. He suspects a sampling issue.

FWIW, I agree. First, this is what I found in 2012, for the banal reason that election observers were more likely to be stationed in richer, more SWPL, and consequently more oppositionist/anti-Putin places. Second, as someone who called for an elections boycott – and failed hard – Navalny has an especially strong interest in claiming that turnout was much lower than the official figures.

* This outreach into non-Communist groups was reflected in performance across age groups. Traditionally, as I have often written [1, 2, 3], Zyuganov/KPRF did much better with the elderly, whereas support for Zhirinovsky/LDPR grew amongst younger cohorts in a diametrically opposite manner. Grudinin managed to partially upend this pattern: According to WCIOM exit polls, he was actually about equally strong amongst both 18-24 year olds [10.2%] and 60+ year olds [9.1%], versus Zhirinovsky, who was competitive with Grudinin amongst youth [8.3%] and the middle-aged, but preserved his traditional very weak performance with the elderly [4.0%]. Even so, this outreach was ultimately weak, and involved the KPRF retreating from its core principles to boot.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Spisarevski says

    Someone with a twitter account should tell Ed that unlike the banana republic where he is from, in Russia people without an ID and who are not even citizens can’t vote, unlike the millions of illegals that voted for Hillary.

    I like how these people comment on videos which exist because of the Russian authorities and their cameras in the first place, as proof that the elections are not legitimate or something because of some minor incidents that have obviously been taken care of.

  2. Lemurmaniac says

    the commie boomers are dying out

  3. Felix Keverich says


    You have long advocated this idea that Russian public opinion polls are skewed against the liberals, and in reality “10% of Russians genuinely didn’t support Crimea takeover”. Did you find any evidence for this theory in last week’s vote? Did the “10%” follow Navalny and largely stay home?

  4. Well, the polls were predicting 10% for Navalny in Moscow in 2013, I predicted he’d get 20% (way higher than almost any of my commenters), and yet even I underestimated him as he got 27%. I don’t think I ever claimed this would necessarily apply to Sobchachka (too many scandals, too huge an anti-rating) or to Yavlinsky (a worn out liberal whom nobody cares about now).

    The polls also didn’t predict Prokhorov in 2012, who was at 2-3% IIRC but ended up beating even Zhirik.

  5. The moustache is my main concern. Please do keep us updated.

  6. Good stuff,

    Tfw you know more about Russia than most Russians because of one blog।।

  7. Good data analysis [all in Russian]: Alexander Kireev, Dmitry Kobak, Sergey Shpilkin

    Sergey Shpilkin professional forger. He invented a “mathematical method” for determining electoral fraud. This method is based on the grossest errors and is a pseudoscience and method of manipulation. All these errors have long been analyzed, but Mr. Shpilkin ignoring criticism continues to use his method for propaganda purposes. That is Spilkin is absolutely a conscious liar (and not a naive person who sincerely believes in his theory). Any publication about the elections, in which Shpilkin is a co-author, can a priori be considered a conscious propaganda lie

  8. One can see even with the naked eye that there was far less fraud in 2018 than in 2011, though it is still much worse than in the 1990s.

    Is that a joke? Free from fraud the elections of 1996?

  9. reiner Tor says

    I just asked this in the other thread. I read somewhere that even in 2000 Putin might have needed a second round, had it been truly free. (Not to mention the media.)

  10. There was moderate fraud in Tatarstan in the second round, but Yeltsin would have almost certainly won anyway. There was nothing like the endemic fraud across most Russian regions that appeared after 2000.

    Saying otherwise on TV, etc. is useful propaganda because it helps discredit Yeltsin and Americanism, but no need to drink the Kool Aid here.

    I criticized Shpilkin’s method in this very post. However, it is very far from not having value.

  11. Yevardian says

    Very disappointing showing from Zhirik. At least Sobchak got a good telling off.

  12. There was moderate fraud in Tatarstan in the second round, but Yeltsin would have almost certainly won anyway.

    The candidate who had 5% of support of the population won with 53% of votes. Very funny.

    I criticized Shpilkin’s method in this very post.

    A fake method( fake both theoretically and empirically) that uses an absolutely conscious falsifier-propagandist Shpilkin ” very far from not having value”?

    Almost all of what you write, you write very intelligently and based on facts. But I’ve seen 2 exceptions. The first exception – the assessment of the bridge in Vladivostok based on manipulation. The second is advertising of outright forger Spilkin

    Post Script – a very detailed analysis of fakes of Spilkin and Co (in Russian)

  13. anonymous coward says

    There was nothing like the endemic fraud across most Russian regions that appeared after 2000.

    This is completely false, please don’t post anything like this ever again.

    The elections of 1996 were some of the most undemocratic elections in the history of mankind.Президентские_выборы_в_России_(1996)

    раскаиваюсь, потому что тогда, действительно, ни для кого не секрет, коммунисты, действительно, побеждали. Побеждали они сильно, рейтинг Ельцина был надут с помощью и административного в том числе ресурса […] А вообще-то, строго говоря, надо было, ну, как бы сказать? Ну, позволить России совершить демократический выбор. Он был – этот выбор был за коммунистов

    Член предвыборного штаба Ельцина А. Ослон вспоминал, что они полностью контролировали телевидение. Так, главным советником избирательной кампании Ельцина был президент телекомпании НТВ Игорь Малашенко, глава ВГТРК Эдуард Сагалаев вошёл в состав Общественного комитета поддержки президента Ельцина.

  14. this case looks like a set-up honestly. why would you commit fraud so blatantly, if you KNEW and SAW a camera behind you?…a performance really.

  15. reiner Tor says

    Wasn’t Chechnya also a likely case of mass fraud? Though it might have been too small to swing the election Yeltsin’s way. (Or maybe the Chechens thought that Yeltsin would grant them de facto independence like he eventually did in August, and that Zyuganov wouldn’t have done that?) Michael Meadowcroft certainly seemed to think that Chechnya was the most blatant example of fraud. Was he wrong?

    But looking at the data and polling results, it seems Yeltsin’s lead was too large. I don’t think 15% of the votes were fraudulent.

  16. I believe that it was mainly just soldiers voting in Chechnya in 1996.

    And you are of course correct. Even the most falsified Russian elections ever, the Duma elections of 2011, only bumped up United Russia by no more than 11% (probably 8-9%).

    The polls soon before the second tour all had Yeltsin out in front:

    Here is a comprehensive explanation of why the falsifications in 1996 could not have stolen Zyuganov his victory: (I suppose I can make a post about it if there’s demand)

  17. reiner Tor says

    The 1993 plebiscite on the constitution?

  18. WTF, most people predicted that Putin would get less 70%?

    I thought it was obvious to everyone who knows anything about Russia that post-Crimea Putin is around 10-20% more popular than he was back in 2012. However, to be fair, that obviously doesn’t include most of the Western MSM lol, but didn’t even they acknowledge it back in 2014-15? That Alec Luhn guy and some/many others are actually surprised, really?

    Western Russia experts in a nutshell: “Rosstat and Levada… never heard of them. And I don’t speak Russian either.”

  19. reiner Tor says

    if there’s demand

    There’s certainly demand on my part for a comprehensive post about election fraud in Russia since 1990. Including media bias etc.

  20. Polish Perspective says

    OT: The newest asylum stats are out for the EU + Schengen for 2017. Full pdf:

    Some notes: Number of overall asylum applications fell by around 50% YoY. It is still (marginally) above 2014 numbers, but quite close to that. However, don’t be fooled: 2014 was a record year before 2015. If you look at the numbers from 2010, it was much lower. 2011 may be an even better indicator, since large parts of Europe had begun to recover post-2010 and its blistering growth. Austerity only set in in mid-to-late 2011, and asylum waves have a lag wrt economic factors. So, still pretty terrible even if not catastrophic.

    Which countries get the fewest applications per million?

    The lowest numbers were recorded in Slovakia (27 applicants per million population), Poland (79), Portugal (98), the Czech Republic (108) and Estonia (138).

    Of course, this is applications. A country may receive comparably fewer applications but still be quite generous with doling out acceptance rates. We won’t get decisions until later this year.

    I would argue that the latter is a better overall indicator of well a country polices its borders, since some countries get more applicants simply due to geography. The 2016 data is here:

    The country with the lowest approval per million (10) was Poland. Runner’s up was Portugal (30). Hungary at (45), Czechia at the same level. So Portugal seems to be getting both low application rates and is stingy with approvals.

    Sweden’s acceptance rate is over 7000 (I’m not kidding).

    Returning to the latest data. Poland’s top three ethnicities are:

    1. Russian (2120 / 71% share of total)
    2. Ukraine (300 / 10% share of total)
    3. Tajikistan(85 / 3% of total).

    I’m guessing a significant share of “Russians” are actually Chechens. Background info here:

    According to the story, we’re actually breaking international law for refugees by refusing to even allow most of them to even apply. Germany, which uses that talking point a lot to push 3rd worlders are complicit in silence with this practice. In reality, both Poland and Germany knows that the ultimate destination for the Chechens is Germany.

    I believe AK even posted a story last year, which references some of these diaspora communities in Berlin imposing what AK tongue-in-cheek called “white sharia”. Part of the reason why we have such a low acceptance rate is likely because virtually all of the Chechens get denied asylum. And those are just those who manage to claim asylum. As the article makes clear, we’re roughing most of them up and sending them back – in violation of international law – but I guess nobody cares when we’re doing Germany’s dirty work for them. Nobody in the Western media wants to sully Germany’s image, after all 😉

    Its possible that there are non-Chechen asylum seekers, though I have no idea who they could be. Russia’s not a bad place to live and the difference between them and us is not astronomical.

    Those few we do admit tend to be Christians and a large share of them are women. In fact, the government even brags that the (miniscule) amount of refugees we take are comprised of the highest share of women in all of the EU(46%) whereas those who Sweden take are 80-90% male.

    Pretty useless thing to brag about. I’d rather cut down refugee admissions to zero, even if they were all Christian women. It’s an abused system, economic migration by another name, at this point.

  21. Interesting. So the countries that get the least applications, also admit the least of those they do get.

    I wonder why Portugal is so much more based than, say, Greece.

  22. Thorfinnsson says

    I wonder why Portugal is so much more based than, say, Greece.

    May have something to do with the fact that Greece has not been sovereign in nearly a decade and its security services are de facto on the Reich payroll.

  23. Polish Perspective says

    OT: The Absolute STATE of Cuck Island. /pol/ language aside, this is starting to move from the outrageous to the seriously hilarious.

    Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw. He said he made the video to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly.

    Words fail me.

  24. I wonder why Portugal is so much more based than, say, Greece.

    Look at the map. It is all about geography. It is not that easy to get to Portugal w/o getting first to Spain.

  25. Swedish Family says

    Interesting. So the countries that get the least applications, also admit the least of those they do get.

    Yes, but the causality is the other way around: the fewer applications a country accepts, the fewer applications it will receive. This is well known in Western Europe, and Denmark turned this observation into policy many years ago (to the outrage of Swedish liberals).

    To give you an idea of how these things work, a few years ago, some Good Samaritan translated into Swedish the instructions that human traffickers hand out to aspiring immigrants in North Africa (or maybe it was the Middle East, I forget), and it was fascinating to see how informed they were of how different EU states handle application procedures. They knew exactly which countries were most likely to accept refugees, which countries offered the most generous benefits, and which pitches were most likely to be accepted (which regions in what country you should claim to come from, for what reason you should claim to have fled, your purported family situation, etc.).

  26. Yevardian says

    I’d be curious to see the rationale for that, considering the vast majority of us who lived through that wild-west era can attest there was fraud on a massive scale.

    @Swedish Family

    I have many Iranian friends who can back this up, everyone does their research or at least gets a friend to do it on their behalf before setting off, Sweden is always on the top of peoples’ lists.

  27. ussr andy says

    d̶e̶m̶a̶n̶d̶ idle curiosity in my case.
    1991 and the yes-yes-no-yes 1993 referendum too

  28. reiner Tor says


    Though I still expect Orbán to win in April, his odds have considerably worsened in recent weeks. There is now a serious chance of Fidesz not getting a majority. I don’t know what will happen after that. Theoretically there could be a coalition, but now neither a Fidesz-Jobbik, nor a Jobbik-left coalition seems viable. Even the leftist parties seem to hate each other as much as they hate Fidesz.

    But I think Orbán will still probably win this time, but it’s likely his last cycle as prime minister.

  29. reiner Tor says

    For those who didn’t know, it was about the upcoming election in Hungary on April 8.

  30. Though I still expect Orbán to win in April, his odds have considerably worsened in recent weeks. There is now a serious chance of Fidesz not getting a majority.

    Any particular reason for his worsening chances?

  31. reiner Tor says

    A number of scandals rocked his party (some corruption scandals involving his close family members, but not all scandals were corruption related), but the most important thing is that already in 2014 he didn’t have a majority of the votes.

    The Hungarian election system since 2014 is a mix of first past the post and (to a smaller extent) proportional representation. (Even the latter favors the winner.) Before Orbán changed it, it had a similar system, but one where the MP districts had a second round, unless someone received the majority of the votes. So parties could run separately and then after the first round of voting they could form an alliance.

    Orbán changed the system because he understood that for the opposition (which was divided, even without Jobbik) would need to form an alliance in order to be competitive. However, some of the leftist parties were discredited in the eyes of the majority of the electorate (and the voters of Jobbik and the leftists were often incompatible), and so an alliance would have destroyed a large portion of the appeal of the other leftist parties (not to mention Jobbik).

    However, that seems to have changed recently. Moreover, there has been open talk of “cross-voting” even with Jobbik, so in many places the parties won’t even have to form an alliance (which, less than three weeks before the election, they have still failed to do anyway), their voters in each district will be voting for the most popular opposition candidate (and now this seems to include Jobbik), and they are encouraging their voters to do so.

    It’s a question how many of the voters will actually do so, but I think the floodgates have opened to some extent already. It’s not exactly encouraging that since 2014 Fidesz has lost all by-elections. They were usually explained away as products of unusual local circumstances, but it’s getting increasingly likely that it will happen in a lot of places.

    I still expect Fidesz to win, but not by a large margin.

  32. reiner Tor says

    Also recently websites have popped up showing the most viable (popular) opposition candidates in most districts, so now voters already have the information. Orbán probably didn’t understand the possibilities of the internet.

  33. reiner Tor says

    So parties could run separately and then after the first round of voting they could form an alliance.

    The second round had the three best performing candidates, and it wasn’t necessary to get the majority in the second round. Therefore, cooperation between at least the two largest opposition parties (with some candidates, usually, but not always, the weakest ones, withdrawing from the race) was still needed. But they didn’t have to do it until after the first round.

  34. Orbán probably didn’t understand the possibilities of the internet.

    One of the most common characteristics of conservatives – ie. the moderate right we’ve depended on to fight the left over the last half century – throughout the West is that they are really slow learners. Alt Righters always talk about conservative cowardice and treachery, which are also common, but the inability of conservative people in general to even notice new situations/threats etc is even more frustrating and demoralising. I guess it’s more to do with endemic provincialism rather than outright stupidity but who knows.

  35. reiner Tor says

    You have to remember he started out as a young, fresh leader. (The name Fidesz originally comes from an abbreviation FIDESZ, which stood for Young Democrats’ Alliance. It was a liberal party in the early 1990s, and until 1992 no new member could be accepted above the age 35…)

    His entourage changed a lot since he came to power in 2010. It moved a bit in the alt-right direction, which is to say, it got crankier. Many of his more normal conservative allies left him over the years or started keeping a low profile, while he started to employ stupid lieutenants. Since 2010, but especially since 2014 he really became a Führer of his party, and most people around him were sycophants. He seems to have believed by 2014 that he was an infallible genius, and that it was no longer possible for anyone in Hungary to beat him.

    His lieutenants are now either stupid or corrupt or both. He himself is not above all this: his son-in-law started a corrupt scheme in 2010, and was already considered a shady scandal-ridden figure before 2014, but recently new details emerged. It’s possible Hungary will have to pay back some money to the EU (I mean, stealing EU monies when you’re trying to take a stand against them must be stupid…) because of these shady deals. The mayor of his native village became one of the richest people in the country over the past 8 years (he’s a simple gas fitter), and many people now suspect that his wealth actually belongs to Orbán personally. To be honest, it’s not implausible.

  36. John Gruskos says

    I hope you’re wrong.

    From a distance, Viktor Orban looks like the world’s greatest statesman.

    On the big, long term issues his platform is perfect:

    Immigration restriction
    Non-interventionist foreign policy
    Christian social conservatism
    Understands the importance of a replacement level birthrate
    Pragmatic populist economics
    National pride and sovereignty
    Relatively friendly towards Russia, could conceivable be the mediator who prevents WW3
    Foreign aid focused on helping the most vulnerable people, Middle Eastern Christians, survive in their own homeland
    Above all, the public face and brains of the V4 group, and the established ally of the national conservatives currently taking control of Austria, Italy and hopefully soon other Western European countries.

    For the first time since John Hunyadi, the #1 defender of European Christian civilization is a Hungarian.

    The poll results on Wikipedia look promising for Fidesz:,_2018

    The 30 day average gives Fidesz 50% + support, compared to 45% in 2014.

    It looks as though Fidesz has stolen a large chunk of Jobbik’s 2014 supporters, and the combined nationalist percentage (Fidesz + Jobbik) has slightly increased at the expense of the left.

    Even better from a long term perspective, polling by age group from 2016 shows progressively larger margins of support for Fidesz (and for Jobbik) among younger groups.

  37. reiner Tor says

    Methodological note: The Hungarian pollsters generally release separate data about the support of political parties among all eligible voters (which tends to include a high percentage for “don’t know/no preference”), and about the support of political parties among “active” or “certain” voters. The table below refers to the latter data.[a]

    It’s a near certainty that the “don’t know” voters will mostly vote for an opposition party. There’s more of them than usual, especially this close to the election (when normally voters already know for sure if they were going to vote, and for whom).

    Orbán is good (he seems to have gotten more and more based over the years), but his corruption and his tendency to surround himself with incompetent hacks and sycophants will be his undoing. As I wrote, I still expect him to win this time, but he will no longer get a supermajority.

    Regarding immigration, if Jobbik becomes a part of the coalition, then I wouldn’t expect big changes. Even half of leftist voters are against third world immigration. But I’m not sure if the enthusiasm will stay.

    Also Orbán is overusing the migration topic in his election campaign, especially whenever his corruption comes up. It only discredits the topic, which I don’t like.

    I still hope he’ll manage to change. As you wrote, he is probably the most based white leader of any country.

    We’ll see.

  38. reiner Tor says

    Even better from a long term perspective, polling by age group from 2016 shows progressively larger margins of support for Fidesz (and for Jobbik) among younger groups.

    I don’t think it’s true of Fidesz, they are weaker among the young. I think it might be true of Jobbik to an extent, but also of the new leftist parties, especially the otherwise very small Momentum, probably also LMP.

  39. that’s on the assumption that people MUST vote against Orban whoever is available. As far as I can tell, that’s not automatically the case. Voter apathy might prevail as well, in which case Orban profits, or Jobbik, which is unhandshakeworthy more from the left than from the right anyways and just effectively block any coalition.

    Did the lefties in Hungary adapt anti-immigrationism yet? In Slovakia, the whole country is basically united in this case so it is not really a voter issue.

  40. reiner Tor says

    Jobbik has drifted to the left. It’s now probably to the left of Fidesz, or at least not significantly to the right. Its relations with any of the leftist parties are better than Fidesz. By the way, Orbán tried to make it impossible for them to campaign. So they also hate Orbán now. And they are definitely not less handshakeworthy than Fidesz. They already engaged in talks to the leftist parties. The “new leftist” parties (untainted with governing 2002-10) actually probably like Jobbik more than the socialists or DK (a spinoff party of the socialists with their least popular politicians, somehow still hanging in the National Assembly).

    on the assumption that people MUST vote against Orban whoever is available

    That has happened in all of the by-elections since 2014. Fidesz lost each of them. I’m not saying it will happen everywhere, but if Fidesz loses over half the districts…

    Let me repeat: I still think Fidesz will win this one. But unless they change significantly (and I’m not sure they are capable of that), they will lose badly in 2022. Probably already during the European elections. Even the municipal elections (I think in 2019). It’s possible that they won’t be able to hold onto power until 2022. (And there’s now some chance of them losing already on April 8.)

    They have less than half of the voters, and anyone who is not explicitly their voter hates them. Not a good situation, even if you’re the biggest party in the land…

  41. I voted for Zhirinovsky

    Commenter 5371 (if I remember the digits correctly) recently stated in a different thread that Zhirinovsky is a homosexual. I found the assertion intriguing, as it was the first time I’d heard it. Well, lo and behold, as part of Russia’s current mini-Weinsteingate scandal, Zhirik is now being publicly accused of sexual harassment by an openly gay male journalist. How ironic that Russia’s nationalist champion is a homosexual Jewish lawyer, something akin to a Russian Roy Cohn.

  42. He’s married with a wife and grandkids. So while it’s not impossible that he is gay, there’s not exactly vast or overwhelming evidence that he is gay, on the basis that a Muslim liberal journalist, who lives in the West (i.e. everything that would want to take down Zhirinovsky), says he once touched his back during an interview ten years ago.

  43. reiner Tor says


    The Hungarian election seems difficult to predict because there is little openly available detailed precinct level data, and also because it’s difficult to measure second preferences and the likelihood of people voting for candidates other than that of their most preferred parties. It’s also difficult to predict turnout, and the Fidesz victory or its size greatly depends on turnout: basically, the lower the turnout, the higher the portion of the votes going to Fidesz. The most likely guess is still a Fidesz win without winning a supermajority, though there’s always the chance of a Fidesz supermajority and also of a Fidesz loss. The March 15 speech of Orbán threatening some unspecified people with retribution was unhelpful in that it could mobilize the opposition voters. The fact that now there seems to be a chance of beating him will probably also mobilize opposition voters.

  44. I have a lot of respect for Zhirinovsky, he’s played an important role in Russian politics for decades now. He’s entertaining, smart and generally calls it like he sees it. What he does in his private life is irrelevant to all this anyway.

    But his career is probably in its twilight now, and his poor showing in the election is a symptom. This makes him vulnerable. The point wasn’t that the piderast journalist is telling the truth, but that he felt he could even make such an accusation publicly and that he chose now to do do. It never would occur to me to think about Zhirik’s sex life, but when I asked someone who usually knows about these things if it’s true about his homosexuality, I was told, “everyone knows that.”

  45. Good man.
    He deserved his double digit result.

  46. It never would occur to me to think about Zhirik’s sex life, but when I asked someone who usually knows about these things if it’s true about his homosexuality, I was told, “everyone knows that.”

    Not everyone. I read about it for the first time in my life.

  47. Not everyone. I read about it for the first time in my life.

    I read it in trolling comments a few times over years – for example, I guess some Ukrainian comments on YouTube.