(GLES) Campaign Dynamics of Media Coverage and Public Opinion

Research question/goal: 

The 2005 German federal election marked a culmination point of changes that had been going on for decades as a consequence of general social change and that 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 analyses 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 analyses 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, 2013 and 2017 German federal elections: rolling cross-section campaign surveys (RCS) with post-election panel waves and content analyses of mass media coverage during the election campaigns.

Current stage: 

In 2023, the project team primarily focussed on presenting the research findings at national and international conferences and preparing and submitting journal articles. Among other things, the team conducted research on social norms, the impact of political conversations on social polarisation processes, and questions of perceived electoral integrity among elites and citizens and the consequences of this perceived integrity for democratic processes. A dissertation project studies the effects of cross-party contacts in Germany on affective polarisation and the underlying mechanisms, with a particular focus on multiparty systems. Furthermore, the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) has been permanently anchored as an institutionalised election study at GESIS. All the latest news can be found at https://gles.eu/.

Fact sheet

2009 to 2024
Data Sources: 
Survey data (cross-sectional and longitudinal); Analysis of media, candidates and campaigns
Geographic Space: 



Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Harald Schoen, Bernhard Weßels and Christof Wolf (Eds.) (2022): The Changing German Voter. Oxford: Oxford University Press. more
Roßteutscher, Sigrid, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Harald Schoen, Bernhard Weßels and Christof Wolf (2019): Zwischen Polarisierung und Beharrung: Die Bundestagswahl 2017. 1st ed., Baden-Baden: Nomos. [Wahlen in Deutschland; 3] more
Rohrschneider, Robert, and Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.) (2018): Parties and Voters at the 2013 German Federal Election. New York: Routledge. more
Rohrschneider, Robert, and Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.) (2017): Parties and Voters at the 2013 German Federal Election. Philadelphia, PA; Ilford: Routledge, Taylor & Francis. [German Politics; 26,1 Special Issue] more
Schoen, Harald, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels and Christof Wolf (Eds.) (2017): Voters and Voting in Context: Multiple Contexts and the Heterogeneous German Electorate. Oxford: Oxford University Press. more
Weßels, Bernhard, Hans Rattinger, Sigrid Roßteutscher and Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.) (2014): Voters on the Move or on the Run?. Oxford: Oxford University Press. more
Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger, Hans Rattinger, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Bernhard Weßels and Christof Wolf (2014): Zwischen Fragmentierung und Konzentration : Die Bundestagswahl 2013. Baden-Baden: Nomos. [Wahlen in Deutschland; 2] more
Faas, Thorsten, Kai Arzheimer, Sigrid Roßteutscher and Bernhard Weßels (2013): Koalitionen, Kandidaten, Kommunikation: Analysen zur Bundestagswahl 2009. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. [Veröffentlichung des Arbeitskreises „Wahlen und politische Einstellungen“ der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft (DVPW)] more
Huber, Sascha (2012): Strukturen des politischen Kontexts und die demokratische Kompetenz der Wähler: Experimentelle Studien zur Urteils- und Entscheidungsbildung. 1st ed., Baden-Baden: Nomos. [Studien zur Wahl- und Einstellungsforschung; 22] more
Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger (Ed.) (2012): Wählen in Deutschland. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag. [PVS Sonderheft; 45] more
Rattinger, Hans, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck and Bernhard Weßels (2011): Zwischen Langeweile und Extremen: Die Bundestagswahl 2009. Baden-Baden: Nomos. [Wahlen in Deutschland; 1] more