Referendum 'Stuttgart 21'
In 2011 the public conflict about the infrastructure project “Stuttgart 21” reached its climax, raising fundamental questions concerning the modes of political participation and the legitimacy of political decisions. It became clear that the participation processes that were part of the planning and approval stage were not enough to ensure the acceptance of the project, and also the ad hoc mediation lead by Heiner Geißler did not result in wide-spread acceptance. The discussions around “Stuttgart 21” and the democratic quality in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg are still ongoing today. In this study we focus on the long term trends in acceptance, evaluation and interest accompanying „Stuttgart 21“ and the referendum that was held after the federal state election in March 2011. Additionally, we examine the attitude of citizens towards reforms of democracy and concrete projects of citizen involvement: How well do citizens feel informed? What level of participation do they want? To what extent should decisions made by the public be binding in their views? Further research questions in the current wave are conflicts between the public good and local interests and the electricity link “Suedlink”.
As a follow-up to the rolling panel project “Election Study Baden-Württemberg 2011”, respondents were invited to participate in a thirteenth wave online survey that was also accompanied by six telephone surveys. The applied methods and collected data allow us to trace and analyse processes of opinion formation and decision making in the topic of direct democracy in great detail.
Field work for the sixth telephone wave and the thirteenth online wave ended in October 2015. Data for 2,300 cases were cleaned, made user-friendly and merged with the data from the previous waves. On December 21, the results from the telephone survey were presented at the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg. Additionally, we published a series of tables with the findings of the telephone survey. Currently we are working on papers and further presentations on direct democracy, citizen involvement and democratic innovations based on these data. We focus on the investigation of factors that could potentially influence varying attitudes towards direct democracy and democratic innovations among people living in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.