(GLES) Long- and Short-term Panel Studies
At the occasion of the 2013 Bundestag election, the multi-facetted GLES research design has been realized for the second time. The project both provides an unprecedented wealth of high-quality data to the scientific community shortly after the election and produced numerous publications focusing on the 2009 and 2013 elections and electoral change from various perspectives. Among other things, a book-length study of electoral change in Germany was published with Oxford University Press, and comprehensive analyses of the 2009 and 2013 elections were published with Nomos. In the third funding period from 2015 to 2017, the well-proven design will be applied to the 2017 election, thus broadening the longitudinal perspective which is at the heart of GLES.
The face-to-face long-term panel is an integral part of GLES that connects both to the cross-sectional surveys and to previous elections, thus providing comprehensive data to study the incidence and patterns of long-term electoral change in Germany at the individual level. About 1,300 respondents were interviewed in 2009 and 2013. Additionally, about 1,800 respondents from the 2013 cross-section were willing to be re-interviewed. In the third project period, annual re-interviews with the respondents from the 2009 and 2013 cross-section surveys will be conducted which will provide the base for analyses of long-term individual-level dynamics of public attitudes and behaviour over several subsequent elections. These annual interviews will be conducted in a mixed-mode design where priority is given to web interviews as a first step to merge the short- and long-term panel studies in the future.
The short-term campaign panel is designed to analyse intra-individual developments of political attitudes and political behaviour during the electoral campaign. In 2013, a similar design as in 2009 was applied, enriched by the inclusion of three independent cross-sections as control groups. In total, 5,256 respondents participated in the 2013 campaign panel, 1,011 of which had already participated in the GLES campaign panel of 2009. Almost 3,500 persons completed all seven waves. Due to a number of measures, retention rates could be further improved when compared to 2009. Beginning in 2014, annual re-interviews will be introduced to this online-panel to add a longitudinal perspective to this component.
With data from both panel studies, findings about the specific constellations and the short-term dynamics of a given election or electoral campaign can be integrated into a long-term perspective in search of broader generalizations or structural developments. Beginning in 2014, the annual re-interviews will be synchronized between both panels in terms of questionnaires and field times in order to further enhance such comparative analyses.
The fieldwork of the follow-up study of the GLES long- and short-term panels was about to be completed at the end of 2015. As in an earlier follow-up study in 2014, all short-term panelists were interviewed by CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interview), while long-term panelists were surveyed using a sequential mixed-mode design which permits survey participation via CAWI, PAPI (Paper And Pencil Interview), or CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview). Results of our research were presented at the ECPR conference in Montreal.