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Polls show Swiss still divided over UN

Recent polls did not show a clear majority of pro-UN voters swissinfo.ch

Two recent polls by the Swiss media show that roughly half of Swiss voters are in favour of joining the United Nations.

This content was published on January 17, 2002 - 22:06

One of the polls, conducted by the MIS-Trend Institute in Lausanne, shows that 57.3 per cent of Swiss citizens are for UN membership. However, there were more ambiguous findings from a second poll by the Zurich-based GfS Research Institute, which showed that only 50 per cent of the electorate would vote to join the UN.

The widely anticipated public vote on UN membership is due to take place on March 3. The outcome of the vote is dependent on over half of Switzerland's 26 cantons voting in favour of joining the organisation.

The results of the MIS poll, carried out on behalf of French-speaking television and radio, are consistent with a similar poll carried out by the same institute in December, when 57.2 per cent of voters said they would favour joining the UN.

According to the MIS poll, published on Thursday, the number of anti-UN voters has dropped by 1.1 per cent to 28.6 per cent in total. The number of undecided voters has risen marginally, from 11.6 to 12.8 per cent.

The MIS poll was carried out among 1,020 Swiss people between 11 and 15 January, with results weighted to reflect the demographic importance of each region.

The results of the GfS poll, conducted on behalf of German-speaking television, were less conclusive, showing that the number of both Yes and No voters had risen by 2 per cent since December. Results showed that 37 per cent are against UN membership and a remaining 13 per cent of citizens are still undecided on the issue.

The GfS poll, published on Tuesday, was conducted among 1,265 members of the Swiss electorate.

Linguistic divide

Both polls showed that French-speaking voters were more likely to vote Yes than their German-speaking counterparts.

According to MIS, 62.4 per cent of French-speakers planned to vote in favour of joining the UN, compared to 55.7 per cent of German-speakers.

Similarly, the GfS survey showed that 55 per cent of the French-speaking electorate were in favour of joining the UN, compared to 49 per cent of German-speakers.

MIS did not interview Italian speakers, while GfS found that 44 per cent of voters in Ticino would vote Yes, and 38 per cent No.

Public awareness

One of the most important findings of the MIS poll is that public awareness of the forthcoming vote is far higher than a month ago.

Since the UN campaigns kicked off at the start of 2002, over two-thirds of Swiss voters are aware of the issue they will vote on in March, as opposed to a similar number expressing ignorance of the poll in December.

swissinfo with agencies

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