About Hanspeter Kriesi

Professor of comparative politics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Minaret initiative and the pre-vote surveys

I would like to come back to the vote on the Minaret initiative that has taken place on November 29, 2009. The outcome of this vote has been rather unexpected with 57.5 percent of the voters accepting the initiative of the populist right that asked for banning the construction of Minarets in Switzerland. Among other things, the outcome of the vote has come as a surprise, because the pre-vote surveys predicted a clear defeat of the initiative.

In the meantime, the VOX-survey that was, as usual, conducted after the vote, has been published. I have taken a look at the file and discovered to my surprise that even in this survey that has been put in the field immediately after the vote, the results concerning the initiative do not correspond to the outcome of the vote. In fact, according to the survey, only a minority of 48.5 percent of the voters accepted the initiative. Given that there were only 682 interviewees who had participated in the vote and who indicated to have either voted in favor or against the initiative, this outcome is not significantly different from the true outcome. Still, I wondered what might have caused this difference.

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