Swiss ‘Service Public’ Initiative Too Close to Call, Poll Shows

  • Initiative would limit pay at Swiss state-controlled firms
  • gfs.bern poll for SRG indicates 46% support vs 41% opposition

Swiss voters are still undecided on a ballot initiative to curtail executive pay at state-controlled companies, according to a poll by gfs.bern for national broadcaster SRG.

Forty-six percent support the “Pro Service Public” initiative, while 41 percent oppose it, with 13 percent still undecided, the survey found. That contrasts with gfs.bern’s April poll, which showed 54 percent backed the measure and only 26 percent were against it.

“We expect an increase in opposition,” pollster gfs.bern said in its survey published on Wednesday. Rejection of a measure typically builds as the referendum day draws near, because quite a few voters haven’t yet made up their minds, “the result therefore remains open, despite an advantage for the opponents,” it said.

The initiative, designed to improve public services, would limit salaries at state-controlled companies including Swisscom AG, rail-road operator SBB and the postal service, ban cross-subsidization between such firms and stop them from aiming to post a profit in the area of basic services. It is opposed by the government and all major parties in parliament.

The survey of 1,419 voters in Switzerland was conducted between May 13 and May 21 and has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points. It is not a forecast of how the Swiss will vote in June but rather how they would have voted had balloting taken place this month, gfs.bern said.

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