(GLES) Campaign Dynamics of Media Coverage and Public Opinion
The 2005 German federal election has marked a culmination point of changes that had been going on for decades as a consequence of general social change, and were additionally spurred by German unification. These changes concern the behaviour of voters, the instability of which has reached unprecedented heights, as well as the context within which voting decisions are made, including the parties and their candidates, the campaigns run by them, and the mass media. The confluence of these developments led to a substantial increase in the fluidity of the electoral process with potentially far-reaching implications for German representative democracy. Focusing on the three federal elections of 2009, 2013 and 2017, the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) observes and analyzes how today’s mobile electorate adapts to this new constellation of electoral politics, which is characterized by a so far unknown degree of complexity. Using state-of-the-art methodologies, the project generates and extensively analyzes a comprehensive, complex, and integrated data base that links cross-sectional with longitudinal data, both short-term and long-term. It combines surveys about voting behaviour with key dimensions of the context within which votes are cast, by means of analyses of media, candidates, and campaigns, and it spans several elections, covering both campaign periods and the time in between elections. All data generated by this hitherto most comprehensive programme of German electoral research are treated as a public good and made immediately accessible to all interested social scientists (via GESIS). Within the GLES network, this MZES project is responsible for conducting two components of the project for the 2009 German federal election: a rolling cross-section campaign survey (RCS) with post-election panel wave and a content analysis of mass media coverage during the election campaign.
During the first half of the year, data collection of the rolling cross-section campaign survey and the media content analyses was prepared. From June 23 to September 21 the TV evening newscasts were recorded and the newspaper material was collected on a daily basis. The interviewing of the RCS pre-election survey took place from July 8 to September 21 (N=7,882); the post-election panel interviews were conducted from September 23 until November 2 (N=5,353). The RCS/panel survey data set was published by GESIS in early December. Coding of the collected news content material will be performed in 2014.