Switzerland’s most unhappy political parties unhappy for the same reason

Overall little changed in a year. 36% of the more than 22,000 surveyed in a poll recently published by Vimentis, said they were either satisfied or fairly satisfied with Swiss politics. On the flip side, 45% were dissatisfied or fairly dissatisfied and 19% were non-comital. The year before, 36% said they were either satisfied or fairly satisfied, 46% dissatisfied or fairly dissatisfied, and 18% on the fence.

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Percentages varied by party. Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) members were the most unhappy with the state of Swiss politics. 69% were dissatisfied or fairly dissatisfied. The Ticino League (Lega) was not far behind with a disgruntled 65%.

At the other end of the spectrum was the Evangelical People’s Party (PEV/EVP) with 61% favourable responses. Next was the Christian Democratic People’s Party (PDC/CVP) with 57%, followed by the Green Liberal Party (PVL/GLB) (55%), the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland (PLR/FDP) (54%) and the Socialist Party (PS/SP) (47%).

Overall, satisfaction declined with age. 48% of 15 to 24 year olds were satisfied or fairly satisfied with Swiss politics compared to only 35% of those over 65 and 32% of those between 55 and 64. It also declined in line with income. 48% of those earning over 12,000 per month were satisfied or fairly satisfied, compared to only 27% of those on less than 3,000 per month.

Geneva was the most satisfied canton (55%) while Schwyz (22%) was the least. Vaud (45%), Zurich (35%), Basel (37%), Bern (32%), Luzern (33%) and Ticino (42%) were in the middle.

Priority political issues across all parties were the health system (18%), immigration (15%), political asylum (12%) and the funding of social institutions such as pensions (9%). At the other end were the military (1%), transport (1%), public debt (1%) and criminality (1%). Poverty (6%), environment (6%) and EU relations (5%) were in between.

Men and women had similar priorities with one notable difference. For 21% of women the health system was the first priority compared to 16% of men. Another difference was poverty. This was top for 7% of women but only 4% of men. Men were more concerned than women about the military (2% vs 0%) – military service is compulsory for men and optional for women – and the environment (4% vs 2%).

Political priorities varied significantly by party.

For UDC supporters, the most disgruntled, immigration and asylum were the most pressing political issues. One of these two issues was a top priority for 58% of members. The least pressing issues for this group were education, energy policy, public debt, transport and the military. Each of these were only a priority for 1%.

Immigration was also the number one priority for Lega members (20%).

For Greens it was the environment (32%), and for the PEV (26%), PDC (27%), PLR (20%), PVL (20%) and PS (21%) the number one issue was the health system.

The survey questioned more than 22,000 people across Switzerland at the end of last year.

The poll was done by Vimentis, an organisation run by volunteers with a mission to improve the quality of political debate by providing insight into where voters stand on political issues.

More on this:
Vimentis poll results (in German) – opens PDF

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