VOX-Analysis: The question of fairness shaped the vote on 26 September

12.11.2021 | Tobias Keller, GFS Bern

A question of fairness – but with two different outcomes. ‘Marriage for all’ means equal rights for same-sex couples, is explicitly in keeping with the zeitgeist and enjoys broad majority support. However, the popular initiative to ‘Ease the tax burden on pay and to tax capital fairly’ fails to establish a ‘new’ level of fairness in capital taxation.

Concerns about weakening the middle class and economic reasons led to a No vote on capital taxation. Although both initiatives had clear majorities from the ‘left’, only marriage for all also received broad support from sympathisers of other parties and from party independents. This is confirmed by the results of the survey of 3,024 eligible voters in the VOX analysis September 2021. The study was conducted by gfs.bern and financed by the Federal Chancellery.


No to changing the status quo on capital taxation

The aim of capital taxation is that capital income such as interest or dividends would be taxed more heavily. However, the majority of the population rejected the initiative. The initiative only received support from the ‘left’. The centre, the right and people with no party affiliation cast a clear ‘no’ vote. The pro-side reasons were that this would create more tax justice and thus also fight inequality, but these arguments did not reach a majority. The No reasons, which were more convincing, showed that the status quo in capital taxation should not be changed: Capital is already taxed, there is already enough redistribution, and the middle class would suffer with a Yes vote. Only one pro-argument reached a majority: if the lower class and the middle class had more money at their disposal, it would boost the Swiss economy. But the status quo and concerns about a possible weakening of the middle class kept a majority from changing the current capital taxation.


Yes to overdue equal rights for same-sex couples

‘Marriage for all’ introduces equal rights for same-sex couples. The amendment received support from almost all sides: Through almost all age groups it received great support, as well as from people who classify themselves as left or right. There was only opposition from a few groups of people: Namely, from people who describe themselves as ‘far right’, who sympathise with the SVP and who trust free churches very strongly. The supporters of the centre were split: 49 percent voted for marriage for all. The ‘no’ motives and arguments were church-based or conservative: Marriage for all was unnecessary, wrong or not according to God’s plan. The ‘children issue’ was also polarising: the No camp argued that children need a mother and father as role models. All these arguments, however, did not find a majority by far. Thus, the pro-arguments were much more convincing and also found support in the No camp: Marriage for all was long overdue and corresponds to today’s zeitgeist. Even people who have a mixed attitude on whether Switzerland should rather go with the spirit of the times or rather preserve traditions, voted yes by a majority. Likewise, when it comes to the question of children, the decisive factor is that they experience love and care – and not the sexual orientation of the parents. This brings Switzerland into line with its neighbouring countries in terms of equal rights for same-sex couples.

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Tobias Keller

Tobias Keller

Project manager and Team Lead Data Analytics