How will Switzerland’s autumn referendums turn out?

How will Switzerland's autumn referendums turn out?
Polling ahead of Switzerland’s five nationwide referendums on September 27th shows that some proposals are strongly favoured, while others are neck and neck.

There’s just one week until one of Switzerland’s most consequential set of referendums in recent years. 

A new set of polls shows the likelihood of each proposal passing. 

The polls, carried out by Switzerland’s Tamedia group, shows that the hunting vote in particular is likely to go down to the wire. 

READ: What's at stake in Switzerland's five referendums this month? 

Hunting law

One question to be voted on in the referendum relates to hunting rights. The initiative has been launched by animal protection organisations who argue that the recent law changes place endangered species at a greater risk and should therefore be repealed.

The proposal has a caused controversy in Switzerland, particularly in the southern canton of Ticino where a cartoon flyer distributed to school children saw rising tensions. 

‘Dangerous misinformation': Why this school flyer is causing a furore in Switzerland 

According to the polls, 49 percent are in favour of the law change and 48 percent are opposed. The remaining three percent are undecided. 

This is the closest of the polls of the five questions to be asked on Sunday. 

Child tax deduction

Another close vote relates to the proposal for a tax deduction for children. 

An initiative of the Social Democrats (SP), this vote is a move to counter the child tax deductions which have been recently introduced by the Swiss Government.

A total of 46 percent support the SP’s plan, while 51 percent are against it. 

Those in favour argue that the tax changes are a gift to the wealthiest Swiss, while those opposed say the deductions will provide financial relief to families. 

Paternity leave

While mothers have had paid maternity leave for 15 years under Swiss law, Swiss fathers are currently only entitled to one day off upon the birth of their child. 

This is significantly less than most of Switzerland's European neighbours. The plan is to extend this to two weeks for all biological fathers federally across the country.

Poll numbers show more clarity on this question than the others. 

More than two thirds – 70 percent – are in favour. Only 28 percent of those surveyed oppose the move. 

The support is higher among younger people, with 84 percent of people under the age of 35 in favour. 

As reported in 20 Minutes, those in favour of the referendum argue that not only will it bring about greater equality in Swiss law, but it reflects a desire of fathers to take greater care of children in modern Switzerland. 

Those against argue it is not the state’s role to do so and that private companies fill this gap well in Switzerland. 

Fighter jets

It might sound odd to people from around the world – particularly Americans – but the Swiss even get a direct say in the purchase of military equipment. The Swiss government wants to spend CHF6 billion ($USS6 billion) on new fighter jets.

A similar referendum failed in 2014, however this time around it looks set to gain support. 

Just under two thirds – 65 percent – said they were in favour, compared to 34 percent who are opposed. 

READ: Why is Switzerland holding a referendum on purchasing fighter jets? 

There is however a strong difference in gender attitudes towards new fighter jets. 

71 percent of men are in favour, compared to 58 percent of women. 

Migration limitation

The most controversial question is the right-wing Swiss People's Party initiative (SVP) on implementing a cap on EU migration. The ‘moderate immigration limitation initiative' will restrict EU freedom of movement in Switzerland.

Despite early indications that this was likely to pass, it appears that it will be defeated. The support for the plan has failed to go beyond the SVP’s base. 

Around two thirds (65 percent) reject the proposal, while 33 percent are in favour. 

Support for the vote is strongest in Ticino, where 45 percent of voters are in favour. 

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