The Swiss Election Study (Selects) has been investigating the electoral behaviour of Swiss citizens in national elections since 1995. The project sheds light on the dynamics of the citizens’ opinion formation as well as on the determinants of their political participation and voting choice for a specific candidate or party. In addition, a survey of the candidates collects data on their campaign activities, policy positions and views on representation. Since its launch in 1995, Selects has generated a series of datasets enabling long-term comparisons while constantly incorporating innovative new research questions. Selects is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and has been centred at FORS since 2008.
Selects in a nutshell
Swiss national parliamentary elections are frequently considered to be “low salience” elections. Thus, for a long time, interest in national elections was rather limited – not only on the part of the Swiss electorate (turnout between 1971 and 2019 has mostly remained under 50%), but also on the part of academic electoral research: No election survey was conducted until the early 1970s. It was probably the growing polarisation of Swiss politics and the rise of the populist right in the early 1990s that resulted in a new surge of interest in federal elections.

With the formation of the Swiss Election Study (Selects) project, initially an association of the political science departments of the universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich, the 1995 election constituted, in Peter Farago’s (1995) words, a “new start” in this respect, Since then, large-scale surveys have been carried out within the framework of the Selects project for the federal elections of 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, ultimately resulting in not only a consolidation but also in a massive expansion of electoral research in Switzerland.

At the level of voters, Selects enables researchers to study participation, political opinions and voting intention/choice of Swiss citizens based on large-scale post-election surveys and panel surveys. On the candidates’ side, Selects conducts candidate surveys, studying issues such as factors of electoral success or the links between voters and elites. Finally, within the framework of media analyses, vast amounts of data on the election campaign in the mass media are collected in order to put individual opinion formation processes into their information context. In addition to these data, Selects also created a cumulative dataset, spanning from 1971 to 2019, which enables long-term comparisons between Swiss elections.

International research network
At the international level, Selects is part of two major international comparative projects:

The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) is an international network of national election studies. CSES develops questionnaire modules, which can be integrated into post-election voter surveys. The fifth round of the CSES module will be integrated into the 2019 Selects questionnaire, and Selects also participated in the four previous rounds.

Selects is also part of the well-established network Comparative Candidates Survey (CCS), which conducts surveys among all candidates for national elections in participating countries. Switzerland has conducted this additional survey in every election year since 2007.

Structure and funding
Selects is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and directed by the “Political Surveys” team at FORS. Under the lead of Prof. Dr. Anke Tresch, the Political Surveys team performs the following tasks:

  • General planning and organising of the components of the survey;
  • Sample drawing;
  • Development of the questionnaires and specific survey methods;
  • Translation of the questionnaires into three national languages (French, German and Italian);
  • Cleaning, documentation and processing of the individual Selects data files and the longitudinal cumulative file;
  • Editing and revising of scientific reports.


The Selects Commission guarantees strong links of Selects with the Swiss research community and authorities involved in elections. The commission is mandated by the FORS Foundation Board. According to its mandate, the mission of the Commission is to guarantee the quality of electoral research in Switzerland and to strengthen the electoral research network at Swiss universities and with the authorities involved in elections.


  • President: Prof. Dr. Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen (University of Bern, Institute of Political Science)
  • Prof. Dr. Nathalie Giger (University of Geneva, Department of Political Science and International Relations)
  • Dr. Daniela Koller (Canton of Thurgau, Statistical Office)
  • Prof. Dr. Daniel Kübler (Center for Democracy Studies Aarau (ZDA), University of Zurich, Department of Political Science)
  • Prof. Dr. Romain Lachat (SciencesPo, Paris)
  • Prof. Dr. Lucas Leemann (University of Zurich, Department of Political Science)
  • Prof. Dr. Georg Lutz (FORS, University of Lausanne)
  • Dr. Lionel Marquis (University of Lausanne, Institute of Political Studies)
  • Madeleine Schneider (Federal Statistical Office (FSO))
  • Prof. Dr. Denise Traber (University of Basel, Department of Social Sciences)
  • Prof. Dr. Alexander H. Trechsel (University of Lucerne, Department of Political Science)
  • Prof. Dr. Anke Tresch (FORS, University of Lausanne)

Project Director

  • Prof. Dr. Anke Tresch (FORS, University of Lausanne)

Selects is considered a research project of national importance. Therefore, since 2011, a sample of individuals representing the country’s population with the right to vote aged 18 and above has been drawn randomly from the sampling register of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, in accordance with the Ordinance on the Execution of Federal Statistical Surveys (Art. 13c, para. 2, lett. d).

Sample construction

Voters’ side

Candidates’ side

Data collection

Voters’ side

Candidates' side

Topics and questionnaires
Every four years, in addition to the core questionnaire, Selects incorporates new thematic modules that are of particular interest to researchers, while maintaining the necessary continuity to enable comparisons with previous waves.

In addition, it should be noted that the various surveys are coordinated with each other. For example, questions related to attitudes towards certain political subjects are identical in the candidate survey and in the post-electoral survey, which makes it possible to compare the positions of candidates and citizens.

Voters’ side

Candidates’ side

Get data
Questionnaires, codebooks, technical reports and the data of the Swiss Election Study (Selects) are deposited at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS and can be downloaded free of charge from SWISSUbase.

The Swiss data that is provided to the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) is available via the CSES webpage.

Download data and documentation

Publications with Selects data

You can search the bibliographic database for title and author:


You can also access the Zotero database for more complex search options and access to the abstracts.

If you have worked with Selects data and miss your publication in this list, or if you want to announce a new publication, please send the complete reference to Thank you for your collaboration.

Selects brochures

Selects Panel Survey 2019-2021


Selects 2019


Selects 2015


Selects 2011


Selects 2007


Other publications

The 2019 Swiss National Elections. Nathalie Giger, Denise Traber and Anke Tresch (eds.) 2022. Swiss Political Science Review 28(2).

The 2015 Swiss National Elections. Nathalie Giger, Line Rennwald and Anke Tresch (eds.) 2018. Swiss Political Science Review 24(4).

The (in)stability of voters’ perceptions of competence and associative issue ownership: The role of media coverage. Anke Tresch and Alexandra Feddersen (2018). Political Communication.

The 2011 Swiss Elections. Romain Lachat, Georg Lutz and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen (eds.). 2014. Swiss Political Science Review 20(4).

The Swiss National Elections 2007. Georg Lutz, Thomas Milic and Marco Steenbergen (eds.). 2010. Swiss Political Science Review 16(3).
Summary of the publication (in German)

Selects in the media
Below you will find some links to articles in which the Selects study and/or members of the Selects team are mentioned:

Pourquoi la droite populiste progresse-t-elle à Genève? (Tribune de Genève, 15.11.2023)

The 2023 Swiss Federal Elections: Last Time’s Winners Lose and Losers Win (Who Governs Europe, 03.11.2023)

Mit der SVP wollen sie nichts zu tun haben – weshalb die ausscherenden Frauenparteien keine Überraschung sind (NZZ, 02.11.2023)

Wo sind all die Liberalen hin? (NZZ am Sonntag, 28.10.2023)

«Seuls contre tous» (Le Courrier, 24.10.2023)

Fédérales 2023: la victoire du parti «seul contre tous» (Le Nouvelliste, 24.10.2023)

Anke Tresch: “Das Bedürfnis nach Sicherheit wächst auch in der Schweiz” (, 23.10.2023)

Elezioni federali: “Anche in Svizzera cresce il bisogno di sicurezza” (, 23.10.2023)

«Le besoin de sécurité augmente aussi en Suisse» (, 23.10.2023)

Anke Tresch, politologue: «Il faut du contenu qui parle aux jeunes, pas uniquement de la forme» (Le Temps, 04.10.2023)

«En 1971, les femmes votaient plus à droite que les hommes» (Avenir Suisse (Podcast), 03.10.2023)

Les élections ne changent in fine pas grand-chose (20minutes, 26.09.2023)

Signora Tresch, come riesce un partito a vincere le elezioni? (DeFacto, 21.09.2023)

Frau Tresch, wie wird eine Partei zur Wahlsiegerin? (DeFacto, 21.09.2023)

Madame Tresch, comment un parti devient-il victorieux aux élections ? (DeFacto, 21.09.2023)

Signora Rennwald, l’UDC è il partito dei lavoratori? (DeFacto, 05.09.2023)

Frau Rennwald, ist die SVP die Partei der Arbeiterschaft? (DeFacto, 05.09.2023)

Madame Rennwald, l’UDC est-elle le parti des travailleurs ? (DeFacto, 05.09.2023)

La chute de l’identification partisane en Suisse et ses conséquences pour les échéances électorales (Le Temps, 04.07.2023) (PDF)