Basically, the vote on “AHV 21” has already taken place. At least that is what a survey that became public a week ago suggests. A survey commissioned by supporters of the reform has conveniently already identified a comfortable majority for the project: 55 percent of those surveyed agree with it. A finding that conveniently produces headlines like this: “SP basis for the same retirement age”, headlined the “SonntagsZeitung”.
Because the survey conducted by the Demoscope institute and financed by the yes camp even found that a majority of SP voters approved of the reform. A reform, the core of which is to raise the retirement age for women to 65.
In parliament, the left had campaigned against the reform: From their point of view, the compensation for the increase in retirement age is far from sufficient. Finally, the SP and the unions held the referendum.
Such a survey fits badly into the picture. SP co-president Mattea Meyer (34, ZH) admitted in the “SonntagsZeitung”: “From our point of view, the survey is not pleasant.”
What matters is how you ask
Effective voting will probably take place in September, but how solid is the pollsters’ early verdict? The way the survey was conducted gives the impression that a result was aimed at from the outset that suits the client and thus the yes camp. Because how the questions are asked and in what order is to some extent decisive for what the outcome of a survey is at the end.
The first question in the Demoscope survey prepares the ground: “People in Switzerland are getting older. An important pillar of old-age provision is the AHV. In your opinion, how big is the challenge for the AHV in view of the fact that people are living longer?” In fact, very few people doubt that the demographic challenges for maintaining social security are great.
The following questions also at least have a side: “How confident are you that you will personally receive a satisfactory OASI pension?” Or: “How confident are you that the AHV pension will not suddenly be reduced due to financial difficulties?” The next question is whether a lower retirement age for women is still appropriate. Only then is the decisive point addressed and asked whether one would accept the “AHV 2021”.
Peter Burri from Pro Senecute: “Poverty in old age is already apparent before retirement”(06:57)
Miles away from the predicted debacle
Michael Buess, managing partner at Demoscope, says when asked that “survey methodology, the structure and the formulation of a survey” have an influence on the result of a survey. “We carried out our survey in accordance with the applicable professional rules of our association. Our sample, i.e. the number of people who were surveyed, is also sufficiently large,” says Buess. The fact that a majority of the SP sympathizers in the survey support the template at the current time is actually “remarkable”.
“Remarkable” is an understatement. When the base of the SP renounces its allegiance to the party leadership in the absolute core dossier, that is a sensation. Only the majority determined by Demoscope crumbles when asked differently. Another survey on the same topic shows this.
In preparation for the referendum campaign, the Swiss Trade Union Confederation (SGB) commissioned political geographer Michael Hermann from the Sotomo research center to carry out a survey. The results are available to SonntagsBlick. Sotomo and the SGB both emphasize that the results were not intended for publication. Rather, it was about testing the arguments of supporters and opponents. Sotomo confronted the respondents with ten arguments from the yes camp and ten arguments from the no camp and then asked again how they would vote.
In the end, unlike the survey of supporters, there is an open outcome: 48 percent reject the reform, 45 agree, seven percent are undecided. Probably even more important for the left: a majority of 63 percent of the SP sympathizers surveyed say no to “AHV 21”. No reason for the party to celebrate – but this result is miles away from the debacle that Demoscope predicts the SP leadership.
Announced million dollar campaign
Michael Hermann does not want to compare the two polls. In general, he states: “There are different types of surveys. For example, those with which a topic is to be occupied, which is not particularly problematic. And then there are polls, which are intended to achieve a specific result from the start in order to influence the discussion of an issue.”
It sounds all the more combative from the referendum committee. Urban Hodel, co-head of communications at the trade union federation, says: “We didn’t do this survey in order to be able to exploit it in the media.” The SGB wanted to try out the most important arguments from both camps. This is the only way to provide a serious picture of the majority situation. The survey shows that the arguments strengthened the no camp. “Despite the tight starting position, it is therefore possible to reject AHV 21 if we succeed in mobilizing women and average earners,” says Hodel. The million-dollar campaign announced by employers and banks will be very demanding. «But we are prepared. Otherwise we would not have collected three times as many signatures as needed for the referendum within a short period of time,” said Hodel.
One last prognosis at the end: Further surveys can be expected. Such and such.
Social scientist explains: That is why poverty in old age mostly affects women(01:19)
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