Political participation and public opinion

The debate regarding public opinion and forecasts of voter turnout are particularly prominent in the media prior to an immediately after elections and votes. The survey and analysis of the public opinion and political participation are also an important subject for political science when assessing the functioning of the political system. FORS is involved in this field of research primarily by conducting and evaluating population surveys in the wake of elections and votes, and by subsequently making the data available to other researchers. In addition, research in this area is also carried out at FORS itself, and FORS is a co-founder of the DeFacto platform, which makes research results accessible to a broad public.

Recent publications from FORS on political participation and public opinion

Scientific publications of FORS collaborators
Die nationalen Wahlen in der Schweiz. Lutz Georg, Tresch Anke, 2022/03/14. pp. 519-557 dans Handbuch der Schweizer Politik/Manuel de la politique suisse, NZZ Libro. [serval:BIB_7499CE777A46]

La normalisation des politiques suisses de la drogue. Pollien Alexandre, 2022/02/01. Politique des drogues 2 pp. 11-16. [serval:BIB_495C37531C49]

Hardwired to attack. Candidates’ personality traits and negative campaigning in three European countries. Nai Alessandro, Tresch Anke, Maier Jürgen, 2022/01/01. Acta Politica. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_0D5D3C126C16]

Votations populaires. Sciarini Pascal, Tresch Anke, 2022/03/13. pp. 559-591 dans Handbuch der Schweizer Politik – Manuel de la politique suisse, NZZ Libro. [serval:BIB_D6F186B5612A]

Class gaps in perceptions of political voice: liberal democracies 1974–2016. Rennwald Line, Pontusson Jonas, 2022/03/29. West European Politics pp. 1-27. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_33313BC6B330]

Preface. Mosimann Nadja, Rennwald Line, Pontusson Jonas, 2022/04/06. West European Politics pp. 1-3. [URN][DOI][WoS][serval:BIB_EB7AEBD68DC6]

The Accessibility and Electoral Consequences of Issue Competence Perceptions: Evidence from the Swiss 2019 Election. Marquis Lionel, Tresch Anke, 2022/04/11. Swiss Political Science Review, 28 (2) pp. 254-276. Peer-reviewed. [DOI][serval:BIB_F975198228C5]

Tailored negativity. Campaign consultants, candidate personality, and attack politics. Nai Alessandro, Tresch Anke, Maier Jürgen, 2022/05/17. Swiss Political Science Review, 28 (2) pp. 338-360. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_CBE5DABFD036]

Who still likes social democracy? The support base of social democratic parties reconsidered. Bremer Björn, Rennwald Line, 2022/05/12. Party Politics p. 135406882210937. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_4AC79ABB9F55]

Eine Demokratie auf Abruf – Tunesiens Warten auf Reformen. Refle Jan-Erik, 2022/04/27. 2. [serval:BIB_4FA6781E1B46]

Likeminded? Congruence Between Political Elites and their Voters Regarding Policy Choices in Swiss‐EU Relations. Lauener Lukas, 2022/06. Swiss Political Science Review, 28 (2) pp. 296-318. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][WoS][serval:BIB_D976DC499814]

Introduction to the Special Issue “The 2019 Swiss National Elections”. Giger Nathalie, Traber Denise, Tresch Anke, 2022/06. Swiss Political Science Review, 28 (2) pp. 157-168. [DOI][serval:BIB_DE02CB23484A]

Démocratie directe, compétence et « vertus éducatives ». Sciarini Pascal, Tresch Anke, 2022/08/11. pp. 275-292 dans Magni-Berton Raul, Morel Laurence (eds.) Démocraties directes, Bruylant. [serval:BIB_E41A20151A68]

Group Appeals of Parties in Times of Economic and Identity Conflicts and Realignment. Stuckelberger Simon, Tresch Anke, 2022/09/24. Political Studies p. 003232172211231. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_CECAC7596782]

Conditional distributions of frame variables and voting behaviour in probability‐based surveys and opt‐in panels. Pekari Nicolas, Lipps Oliver, Roberts Caroline, Lutz Georg, 2022/09/27. Swiss Political Science Review. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_2D4AF9BBD0F8]

Patterns of (de)politicization in times of crisis: Swiss residents’ political engagement, 1999–2020. Marquis Lionel, Kuhn Ursina, Monsch Gian-Andrea, 2022/10/13. Frontiers in Political Science, 4. Peer-reviewed. [DOI][serval:BIB_52CC68D5A313]

Challenging Climate Strikers’ Youthfulness: The Evolution of the Generational Gap in Environmental Attitudes Since 1999. Lorenzini Jasmine, Monsch Gian-Andrea, Rosset Jan, 2021/05/07. frontiers in Political Science. [URN][serval:BIB_643E6E115878]

(When) Do Critical Life Events Push People to the Populist Radical Right? Support for the Swiss People’s Party Following Relationship Dissolution, Unemployment or a Health Crisis. Voorpostel Marieke, Kuhn Ursina, Monsch Gian-Andrea, 2020/11/01. Swiss Journal of Sociology, 46 (3) pp. 515-533. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_2A56F42D1379]

Linking Labour Division within Families, Work–Life Conflict and Family Policy. Szalma Ivett, Ochsner Michael, Takács Judit, 2020/10/09. Social Inclusion, 8 (4) pp. 1-7. Peer-reviewed. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_1946A2DDB482]

Division of Labour, Work–Life Conflict and Family Policy: Conclusions and Reflections. Ochsner Michael, Szalma Ivett, Takács Judit, 2020/10/09. Social Inclusion, 8 (4) pp. 103-109. Peer-reviewed. [DOI][serval:BIB_EFEB2D21BC8C]

The 2019 Swiss federal elections: the rise of the green tide. Bernhard Laurent, 2020/09/18. West European Politics, 43 (6) pp. 1339-1349. [URN][DOI][WoS][serval:BIB_355945E4CA46]

Why Do Citizens Vote Against Their Basic Political Values? Lauener Lukas, 2020/06/16. Swiss Political Science Review. [URN][DOI][serval:BIB_D812D3176C86]

Political agenda-setting and -building in small consensus democracies : Relationships between media and parliament in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Sciarini Pascal, Tresch Anke, Vliegenthart Rens, 2020/04/10. Mass Media Effects and the Political Agenda, 4 (1) pp. 109-134. Peer-reviewed. [DOI][serval:BIB_2A2310657D40]

Revisiting the Inclusion-Moderation Thesis on Radical Right Populism: Does Party Leadership Matter? Bernhard Laurent, 2020/03/05. Politics and Governance, 8 (1) p. 206. [URN][DOI][WoS][serval:BIB_71B9FDFCA4B2]


For all scientific publications by FORS collaborators see here.

VOTO Reports
Since 1977, follow-up surveys have been conducted on behalf of the Federal Council after all federal votes in order to understand the motives of voters for voting Yes or No at the urn. Until June 2016, these follow-up surveys were known as the VOX analyses. In 2016, the Federal Council reassigned the mandate by means of a public invitation to tender. The mandate then ran under the name VOTO and under new responsibility from September 2016 to September 2020. Since November 2020, the project has been running again under its old name (VOX) and is being realised by the gfs.bern research institute.

The VOTO studies are published in German, French and Italian

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 27. September 2020

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 9. Februar 2020

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 19. Mai 2019

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 10. Februar 2019

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 25. November 2018

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 23. September 2018

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 10. Juni 2018

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 4. März 2018

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 24. September 2017

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 21. Mai 2017

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 12. Februar 2017

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 25. September 2016

VOTO Studie zur eidgenössischen Volksabstimmung vom 27. November 2016


All publications and data that is available can be found here: www.voto.swiss

Selects brochures: 2007-2019
Contributions to blogs, newspapers and other media
Engagement kann Weltanschauungen verändern (also available in French), Gian-Andrea Monsch, Florence Passy, Franziska Ehrler, 29.01.2019. DeFacto.

Comment l’agenda médiatique influence celui des parlementaires (also available in German), Sciarini PascalTresch Anke, 01.05.2018La vie économique : plateforme de politique économique 91 (5) pp. 54-55.

Das Vertrauen in Regierung und Parlament ist in der Schweiz hoch, was nicht selbstverständlich ist (also available in french). Franziska Ehrler, Lukas Lauener, Anke Tresch, 28.05.2018. Defacto.

Bundesräte gehen, wann es Ihnen passt (also available in French). Georg Lutz, 02.05.2018. Defacto.

Nein zu No Billag aus Angst vor Sendeschluss (also available in french). Anke Tresch, Lukas Lauener, Laura Scaperotta, 19.04.2018. Defacto.

Die Tessinerinnen und Tessiner vertrauen der Schweizer Regierung – auch ohne eigenen Bundesratssitz (also available in french and italian). Lukas Lauener, Franziska Ehrler, Anke Tresch. 14.09.2017. Defacto.

Atomausstiegsinitiative: Nein trotz klarer Ablehnung der Atomkraft (also available in french). Georg Lutz, Florence Lebert, Daniel Kübler, Thomas Milic, Oliver Lipps. 19.01.2017. Defacto.


This platform makes interesting results from university research and expert knowledge from Swiss political science as well as other social science and related disciplines available to an interested public. The contents of the platform help classify political and social events based on independent, scientific analysis. Although the articles published are short and easy to understand, they also meet scientific criteria such as transparency, comprehensibility of argumentation and analysis as well as differentiation.

Three major data sources for data on political participation and public opinion

The political surveys and projects managed at FORS offer you a wide range of data on public opinion and political participation:


The Swiss Electoral Studies (Selects) has investigated the electoral behaviour of Swiss citizens in national elections since 1995. The project sheds light on the dynamics of citizens’ opinion formation as well as on the determinants of their political participation and vote choice for a specific candidate or party. In addition, it collects survey data on candidates’ campaign activities, policy positions and views on representation. Since its start in 1995, Selects has created a series of datasets allowing for long-term comparison while constantly including innovative new research questions. Selects is funded by the SNSF and the work is centered at FORS since 2008.


Between September 2016 and September 2020, following each federal vote, VOTO studied the reasons why Swiss voters participated in popular votes on the federal level and explained their voting decisions. Funded by the Swiss Federal Chancellery, VOTO was a joint project of FORS and the Center for Democracy Studies Aarau (ZDA), in collaboration with the polling institute LINK. From 2016 onwards, the VOTO surveys have replaced the former VOX analyses, which had been conducted since 1977 by gfs.bern and several Swiss universities. The most significant variables from the former VOX analyses have been standardized across time. FORS distributes this cumulative dataset, called VOXit.

CCS – Comparative Candidate Survey

The CCS is a joint multi-national project with the goal of collecting data on candidates running for national parliamentary elections in different countries using a common core questionnaire to allow for cross-country comparison. Data collection comprises surveys among candidates as well as relevant context information concerning the constituency of the candidate and the political system at large. FORS runs the survey in Switzerland as part of the Swiss Election Studies Selects. Since 2008, FORS is also responsible for the harmonization and archiving of data from all participating countries.

Other data sets containing data on political participation and public opinion

Furthermore you find data concerning public opinion and political participation in other surveys of FORS:
In addition to the data collected at FORS, FORSBASE offers you various data on public opinion and political participation. We especially recommend the following datasets:

Sicherheit: Trends in views on foreign, security and defence policy in Switzerland.