- In the SRG election barometer, the SVP, as clearly the strongest force, can increase again.
- In the elections on October 22, 2023, there could be a head-to-head race between the FDP and the center for third place.
- For many years, immigration and foreign policy stirred up emotions. Now it’s gender, “wokeness” and climate glue.
FDP versus SP, Center versus Greens: For a long time it looked as if these duels would shape the federal elections on October 22nd. But now things are moving: In the latest SRG election barometer, the FDP is losing touch with the SP. Meanwhile, the Greens are threatening not to clear the 10 percent hurdle.
The center, on the other hand, is on the upswing and, according to the election barometer, is trailing the FDP by up to 0.3 percentage points. “Not too many expected such an exciting race,” says Michael Hermann, head of the Sotomo research center, which carried out the survey on behalf of SRG.
We see now that the last elections were very extraordinary.
The results must be interpreted with caution, especially since the changes are within the error range of +/- 1.2 percentage points. For political scientist Hermann, however, a head-to-head race between the FDP and the center is realistic: “Obviously, the merger of the CVP and BDP is paying off. It seems that the new party can take both constituencies with it – and that’s enough to be on an equal footing with the FDP.”
The duel is particularly explosive because the third-strongest party in Switzerland currently has two Federal Councillors. At the same time, it could be difficult for the Greens to claim a seat in the Bundesrat after the elections.
Green suffering from your own success
Although the GLP is growing slightly, it cannot prevent the “green slide” from threatening to peter out in the 2019 elections. “We can now see that the last elections were very unusual,” sums up Hermann.
For those surveyed, climate change remains the greatest political challenge. “But the topic no longer has the same urgency as it did four years ago. The Greens can no longer mobilize like that,” estimates Hermann. “In addition, you can almost only lose if you won as much as the Greens did in the last election.”
Some of the left-wing voters who voted for the Greens in 2019 appear to be returning to the Social Democrats. The SP can now clearly set itself apart from the FDP.
«Corrective vote» instead of right-wing slip
Clearly the strongest force remains the SVP, which could achieve its third-best election result in history in the fall. After Corona, the party can now distinguish itself again with its core issues such as asylum and immigration, says the political scientist. However, an actual shift to the right is not to be expected.
Instead, Hermann speaks of a “corrective choice”: “Four years ago, the pendulum swung very strongly in the direction of green and progressive. Now it’s striking back.” However: According to the election barometer, the SVP only wins back about half of the votes it lost, and the Greens for their part only lose about half of the votes they gained.
The emotions soar
“Women’s election”, “climate election”, “green slide”: The 2019 elections led to historic shifts in parliament. Four years later, however, it is also evident that a new culture war is unfolding in Switzerland around these issues. “The SVP voters in particular are upset about ‘wokeness’, gender and climate glue, as is part of the FDP base,” says political scientist Sarah Bütikofer from Sotomo.
Abbreviations used in the graphic
Keywords were used for the representations in the graphic. The original titles of the question were as follows:
Mismanagement and bonus excesses at CS
Road blockades by the movement of the «last generation» («climate glue»)
Gender Debate, «Wokeness»
Gender debate and weekness
Increasing polarization through debates on social media
Bank bailouts with tax money
Bank bailouts by the state and with tax money
Abuses in the asylum system
Abuses in the asylum system
Passivity despite climate catastrophe
Switzerland’s passivity in the face of a possible climate catastrophe
incitement against the disadvantaged
Hate speech against minorities and the disadvantaged
softening of neutrality
Softening of Swiss neutrality
Lack of support from Ukraine
Standing aside for Switzerland in supporting Ukraine against the Russian attack
hard-heartedness towards refugees
Hard-heartedness of Switzerland towards refugees
Remarkable: For men, these issues are currently the number one annoyance in the country. The SVP hits a nerve with their election campaign, which also focuses on these issues, especially among them – at least in the right-wing spectrum.
But the excitement is also fueled from the left. The Sotomo research center is observing an emotional upswing, as is also known from abroad – multiplied by social media. As the survey shows, many people find this increasing polarization a burden.
The good news: there are currently no signs of a social break like that in the USA. “Switzerland is a very stable political system,” explains the political scientist. “Direct democracy enables the population to decide on factual issues very regularly.”
And: The greatest excitement among Swiss voters remains the debacle surrounding Credit Suisse. “That will certainly help the political left and there in particular the SP, which has positioned itself strongly from the start and has been able to mobilize with this issue in the past,” concludes Bütikofer.
Survey data collection and sampling error
The survey for the election barometer was carried out by the Sotomo research institute on behalf of SRG SSR. Data collection took place between June 8th and 22nd, 2023. The survey was conducted online: the participants were recruited via the SRG web portal and via the Sotomo online panel.
After cleaning and checking the data, the information from 25,216 eligible voters could be used for the evaluation. The breakdown of respondents by language region is as follows: German-speaking Switzerland 20,687, French-speaking Switzerland 3,878, Italian-speaking Switzerland 651.
Since the participants in the survey recruit themselves (so-called opt-in procedure), the composition of the sample is not representative of the total population. Typically, more men than women take part in political polls. Therefore, Sotomo statistically weights the answers to counteract the bias in the sample. The weighting is carried out using the IPF method (Iterative Proportional Fitting).
In addition to spatial (place of residence) and socio-demographic weighting criteria (age, gender, education), political criteria are also included, such as voting behavior or the regional party structure.
Estimation accuracy of +/-1.2 percentage points
The weighting achieves a high level of representativeness for the active voting population. Sampling error, as calculated for random sampling, does not directly translate to politically weighted opt-in surveys. However, the representativeness of this survey is comparable to a random sample with a sampling error of +/-1.2 percentage points.
The full report on the July 2023 election barometer can be found here here