(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.
In 2012 the second round of the GLES project started after acceptance of the continuation proposal by the DFG. As a left-over of the first round, the content analysis of daily newspapers was completed. Together with the RCS/panel survey and the TV news content analysis, all data of the first round of the project are now available (free download: http://www.gesis.org/gles). Besides other publications and conference papers, chapters have been completed for a book based on GLES data that will be published with Oxford University Press. Moreover, preparations for the data collection at the 2013 German Bundestag election have been undertaken.