Experts in election and referendum research

Because we understand how opinion formation works in Switzerland and in direct democratic processes.

We have been conducting market and opinion research in Switzerland for more than 60 years. Since the turn of the millennium we have conducted more than 1000 surveys and surveyed more than a million people throughout Switzerland. Our expertise enables us to enter into dialogue with people and identify their needs, perceptions, opinions, motives and values.

"For several decades, we have been leaders in research on opinion formation in Switzerland. This knowledge is key to the success of modern societies –especially in direct democracies. For not only but particularly in times of crisis and stark polarization, it is essential to successfully shape public discourse."
Urs Bieri - Co-director and Member of the Administrative Board gfs.bern

Trend analyses

For the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SRR), we assess voting intentions in federal referendums and elections. To do this, we conduct two surveys in a representatively selected cross-section of eligible voters in the Swiss population. The results are published by the SRG / SRR as a SRG Trendanalyse (trend analysis) on the internet, TV and radio and are widely reported in national and international media.

"Since 1998 we have conducted regular surveys for the SRG on the formation of opinion on referendums. Our methodological and analytical skills are faced with a tough reality check several times a year by the wide range of issues and strong dynamics during the main campaign. This makes us the only ones nationwide whose methods and analyses have been measured for decades against the harsh truth of the real world live on TV and prominently in the press."
Lukas Golder - Co-director and President of the Administrative Board gfs.bern

Follow-up surveys

For Switzerland’s Federal Chancellery we study all voting decisions at national level. The basis for these studies is provided by follow-up surveys that help to understand the motives behind voters’ decision to vote Yes or No. We won back the Federal Chancellery contract for the follow-up analysis of federal referendums in 2020 in a public tendering process.

Methods and data basis

We use proven, scientifically sound methods to gather data for the trend analysis.


Methods and data basis for trend analyses

The telephone part of the surveys is undertaken by gfs-Befragungsdienst, while the data is assessed and analysed by gfs.bern. Participants are surveyed using an RDD dual-frame procedure on landline and mobile phones. Since the autumn of 2018, in the context of the SRG trend analysis contract, the telephone survey has been supplemented by an online survey with the aim of increasing the sample population size in the French and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland. The online part is an opt-in survey (join-in survey) on the web portal of SRG / SSR media. To enable us to draw conclusions specific to language regions, we gave disproportionately high consideration in the CATI survey to the linguistic minorities. These will be restored to the correct ratio again in order to draw conclusions in the national context.

Further information on the theory and methodology of the SRG trend surveys can be found here.


Methods and data basis for VOX analyses

Data is gathered with a mixed-mode setting (online or hard-copy surveys). On the day after the referendum, the target subjects from the gross sample population receive a letter by post inviting them to take part in the survey. A questionnaire is enclosed with the letter of invitation, allowing the target subjects the option of participating via the online survey or the written survey.


The sample population stems from the sample frame for person and household surveys of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The sample frame uses data from the uses data from cantonal and communal population registers. This ensures that the target population (Swiss voters) is comprehensively covered. The gross sample population is stratified by language region, age and gender. The total sample population is also disproportionately stratified: participants from the French and Italian-speaking regions are disproportionately represented in the sample population so that enough cases from these regions are picked up in the survey. A design-based weighting procedure corrects this overweight in the later analysis of the data for conclusions at national level.


Further information on the methodology of VOX analyses can be found here.

“The VOX analysis is a flagship project in Swiss social and political research. The heavily standardized survey has been studying voting behaviour of Swiss voters since 1977 and allows insights into real-world voting behaviour in national referendums in Switzerland like no other data set.»
Claude Longchamp, Inventor VOX-Analysis, Member of the Administrative Board, former Director gfs.bern

gfs.bern referendums

On behalf of the Federal Council, we have studied all voting decisions at national level since 1977 (with the exception of 2016-2020).