The Swiss Electoral Study Selects 2011
The Selects 2011 study incorporates methodological innovations and new thematic modules of particular salience to researchers, while keeping the necessary continuity for comparison with previous waves. The study comprises three main complementary components : The Post-electoral survey, the Candidate survey, and the Rolling cross-section. The study design of Selects 2011
The post-election survey consist of around 3,200 telephone interviews, combining a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Swiss citizens with an oversampling of small cantons to have at least 100 interviews per canton. Due to the length of the full questionnaire, the telephone interview is complemented by an additional postal or online survey. In addition, individuals without a known telephone number, as well as a control group of about 1000 additional addresses, receive an online questionnaire. This enables us to reach the full sample, incorporating the estimated 20% who do not have a registered phone number. It also provides the data necessary for studying mode effects. Of particular interest is the comparative data quality derived from the online survey. The post-election survey also includes three thematic modules, chosen through a peer-review process :
- “Assessing welfare preferences and welfare priorities”, which examines the linkage between attitudes towards the welfare state and vote choice ;
- “Issue ownership, party evaluations, and voting choice”, aims at testing a new model of voting decision process ; and
- “Attitudes towards immigrants and party choice in Switzerland”, studies the interplay between mobilization of immigration issues by right-wing populists, attitudes towards immigrants, and voting choices.
In addition, two PhD projects are included, connected to the post-election survey : “Immigration attitudes and party choice in Switzerland : A multi-level analysis” and “The impact of cleavages in a contextual and longitudinal perspective”.
The candidate survey is carried out among all candidates for the National Council and the Council of States in the framework of the Comparative Candidate Survey (CCS) project. The survey collects data on the biography, campaign activities, and policy position of the candidates. Among others, the information gathered makes possible the study of underlying factors of candidates’ electoral success, as well as of issues of representation and linkage between voters and elites.
Rolling cross-section (RCS)
The most innovative part of the 2011 study is a rolling cross-section – the first ever in Switzerland –, where 100 citizens based on a random sample are interviewed every day during a period of 41 days prior to the election. All participants to the RCS are also asked to participate in a short post-election survey. This method allows researchers to study :
- the influence of campaign dynamics on voting behaviour and opinion formation processes ;
- the influence of postal voting ;
- the influence of published pre-election polls on opinion formation ; and
the importance of strategic considerations on vote choice as opposed to emotional campaign involvement.
First results of the Selects 2011 Project
Main results from the Selects 2011 project, as well as further details about the study, are available in the following publication :
Lutz, Georg, “Eidgenössische Wahlen 2011. Wahlteilnahme und Wahlentscheid”, Lausanne : Selects-FORS, 2012 (DE). (PDF – 971 kB)
Lutz, Georg, “Élections fédérales 2011 Participation et choix électoral” Lausanne : Selects-FORS, 2012 (FR). (PDF – 948 kb)
Lutz, Georg, “Elezioni federali 2011. Partecipazione e decisione di voto”, Losanna : Selects-FORS, 2012 (IT). (PDF – 947.3 kb)