Despite the war in Ukraine, a recent poll run by Tamedia suggests that an increase in Swiss military spending is not supported by a majority of voters, reported RTS.
The poll showed that only 45% would support an increase in military spending, while 41% think it is sufficiently funded and 8% think Switzerland’s military budget should be reduced.
The traditional political party cleavage on military spending was clear in the poll results. While 62% of UDC/SVP and 61% of PLR/FDP voters supported spending rises, 70% of Socialists and 73% of Greens voters were opposed to higher spending.
Switzerland currently spends around CHF 5 billion on its military, which is around 0.8% of GDP. In 2020, the US spent 3.7% of GDP on its military. The UK (2.2%), France (2.1%), Italy (1.6%) and Germany (1.4%) all spent significantly more of their GDP than Switzerland on military in 2020, according to World Population Review. However, neutral Austria (0.8%) spent at a similar level to Switzerland.
Among those supporting a rise in military spending, half would like to see annual spending rise from CHF 5 billion to CHF 7 billion (1.1% of GDP). Around 20% would like it to jump to CHF 14 billion (2.2% of GDP).
While a majority Swiss voters are not behind higher military spending, they are more supportive of the purchase of new F-35 fighter jets to update their fleet of ageing Tiger jets. When asked how they would vote in a referendum aimed at cancelling the purchase of new F-35 fighter jets, around 60% said they would vote against the initiative. The poll showed clear majorities among UDC/SVP, PLR/FDP, Centre and Liberal Green voters. Even among Socialist voters the poll found only 50% supported cancelling the order for the new F-35 jets.
When asked about Vladimir Poutin, three quarters of those surveyed considered him to be a war criminal. A quarter understood his motivations but did not agree that they justified the war in Ukraine.
The poll questioned 12,437 people between 16 and 18 March 2022.