Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Poles and Hungarians Differ Over Views of Russia and the U.S.

4. Support for taking refugees in Poland and Hungary

About half among both Poles and Hungarians support taking refugees from countries where people are fleeing violence and war. In Poland, 52% say they support admitting such refugees, while 39% oppose this measure. In Hungary, 49% approve of taking refugees from countries experiencing conflict, while 46% oppose.

A bar chart showing mixed support for admitting refugees among Poles and Hungarians.

The shares expressing this opinion are down significantly in both countries from when the question was last asked in 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to data from the United Nations, the invasion resulted in over 15 million border crossings from Ukraine into Poland and over 3 million crossings into Hungary since February 2022 (data accessed Sept. 21, 2023).

Both countries have taken in a number of Ukrainian refugees: Poland has nearly 960,000 Ukrainian refugees living within its borders and Hungary hosts around 50,000 refugees (15.5% and 0.9% of the total refugee population, respectively, as of Sept. 21, 2023).

Two line charts showing that Hungarian and Polish support for taking refugees has tempered since 2022.

In 2022, eight-in-ten Poles and about six-in-ten Hungarians expressed support for taking refugees from countries where people are fleeing violent conflict. In 2023, approval for accepting such refugees is down 28 percentage points in Poland and 14 points in Hungary. The levels of support for taking refugees escaping war in 2023 approach those of when the question was first asked in 2018 (49% in Poland and 32% in Hungary), though approval in Hungary is somewhat higher in 2023 than in 2018. In Hungary, those who place themselves on the ideological left are more likely to support taking refugees than those who place themselves on the right (66% vs. 46%, respectively).

In both Hungary (57%) and Poland (60%), those who say their country should take into account the interests of other countries, even if it means making compromises with them, express support for taking refugees; 41% in Hungary and 48% in Poland who say their country should follow its own interests, even when other countries strongly disagree, support admitting refugees.

In Hungary, where favorability for Russia is higher than in most European countries, those who have a favorable view of Russia are less likely to support admitting refugees. In Poland, there is not a sufficient sample size of those with a favorable view of Russia for analysis. Positive views of Russia in Poland are the lowest among all 24 countries surveyed in 2023.

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