(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: 

During the first half of 2017, we prepared data collection of the rolling cross-section (RCS) campaign survey as well as the media content analyses. From June 23 to September 23, TV evening newscasts were recorded and newspaper material was collected on a daily basis. The interviewing of the RCS pre-election survey took place from July 24 to September 23 (N=7,650); the post-election panel interviews were conducted from September 25 until November 12 (N=4,244). The RCS/panel survey data set has been made available at GESIS in December. Coding of the collected news content material will be performed in 2018.

Fact sheet

2009 to 2019
Data Sources: 
Survey data (cross-sectional and longitudinal); Analysis of media, candidates and campaigns
Geographic Space: 



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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
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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