Democracy Monitoring

Research question/goal: 

The aim of Democracy Monitoring as a tool of practical political analysis is to collect and analyse empirical data in order to systematically assess the functioning of democracy and identify potential areas for improvement. It is based on a detailed description of citizens’ democratic attitudes and participatory orientations as well as their assessments of the functioning of democracy. For this purpose, usually two complementary instruments are used: representative surveys of citizens and focus group discussions on specific topics (understanding of democracy, expectations on municipal politics, performance assessments, etc.).

Against this background, the project’s main objectives were the following: (1) collecting data for a systematic evaluation of the functioning of democracy at the municipal and state level, (2) developing explanations for differences, and (3) analysing the quality of democracy based on regional, national and international comparisons as well as European comparisons (using data from the European Social Survey).

The project team conducted three surveys based on random samples of citizens aged 15 years and older: The first survey was fielded in the city of Mannheim in 2012/13 (the Democracy Audit Mannheim (DAMA)); the other two surveys were conducted in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2013/14 and 2016/17 (the Citizen and Democracy in Baden-Württemberg project (BDBaWü)). The DAMA survey also included focus groups. These studies covered a wide range of dimensions of citizenship, including attitudes towards democracy and democratic institutions at the national, state, and municipal levels of the German federal political system, participatory experiences and orientations, and communication behaviours. In addition, the third survey placed special emphasis on populist attitudes.

We presented the results of these studies to municipal and state officials, civic activists and the general public at conferences and public events and in a series of publications (an edited volume on the DAMA and several contributions to two volumes on core findings of the BDBaWü surveys edited by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation). Moreover, the data are used for a PhD project on levels and backgrounds of political support based on effectiveness and legitimacy.

Fact sheet

City of Mannheim; Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
2012 to 2020
Data Sources: 
Representative surveys (CATI), focus groups
Geographic Space: 
City of Mannheim; State of Baden-Württemberg



van Deth, Jan W. (Ed.) (2014): Demokratie in der Großstadt: Ergebnisse des ersten Mannheimer Demokratie Audit. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. more