On behalf of Credit Suisse, research institute gfs.bern surveyed Swiss voters once again this year about their worries and the country's identifying characteristics. Just like last year, the COVID pandemic and its impact held the top spot for 2021 (respondents were asked to list their five largest worries). However, the problem is considered somewhat less urgent this year. Instead of a majority (51%) seen last year, now just 40% count the pandemic as one of their five main worries. For 39% of voters, climate change (+10 percentage points or pp) and retirement provision (+2 pp) are also main worries, and for the first time a trio of worries has topped the list.
Also among the five biggest topics for 2021 were the state of relationships with Europe (33%) and the changes (in terms of cost) to healthcare and health insurance plans (25%).
At the time of the survey in July and August 2021, a majority of 65% of voters – unchanged from last year – said that they were currently doing very well or well in economic terms. Over the past 25 years, this figure was exceeded only in 2016 (68%). Even when asked about the future, a clear majority of the voters were optimistic that they could at least maintain (75%) or even improve their current prosperity (12%). Compared to a year ago, the number of voters who expect their financial situation to decline has returned to pre-pandemic levels (10%). The respondents' optimism about their own job security has risen once again year on year. Currently, 87% of employed voters are confident that their jobs are secure, and 34% even say that their jobs are very secure.
After a sharp rise in trust in nearly all government and political leaders last year, trust has declined slightly in 2021. For the fourth time in a row, the most trusted agency is the police (63% of respondents expressed their trust; -7 pp), now ranked the same as the Federal Council (-5 pp). Next come the Federal Supreme Court (60%) and the Swiss National Bank (51%). In addition to the trust placed in the Federal Council, there was a significant decline in trust in the Swiss Parliament (Council of States: 42%, -9 pp; National Council: 42%, -6 pp) and in public administration (39%, -9 pp). As before, the churches and the EU were not considered trustworthy by most respondents (both 19%).
In May 2021, the Federal Council unilaterally stated that the talks dating back to 2014 about an institutional framework agreement between Switzerland and the EU were over. However, the vast majority does not feel there is much resentment towards Switzerland. A good 90% of the population believes that Switzerland has a good or very good image in other countries. Thirty-five percent (–1 pp) even feel that its image has improved a little or a lot in the last 12 months. With specific regard to the end of negotiations, the results of the Worry Barometer could be interpreted as support for Switzerland's foreign policy: A modest majority of 51% felt the decision was definitely correct (21%) or mostly correct (30%), while 40% felt that the Federal Council's response was definitely wrong (16%) or mostly wrong (24%).