Universität Mannheim / Sowi / lspol1 / englisch / Research / A Study of Turnout at a Local Election

A Study of Turnout at a Local Election: The Local Election 2004 in Duisburg, Northrhine-Westphalia

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to realize the first ever study of local turnout in Germany. Doing so is supposed to generally increase the knowledge about electoral behaviour in local elections - a research strand that is still in its infancy. The case to be analysed is the 2004 local election in Duisburg (Northrhine-Westphalia) using a representative pre-election survey of German citizens eligible to vote in this election; additionally, contextual variables will be linked to the survey data. In a first step, local elections will be put in the context of other elections (and their respective turnout) to see how these are related. Following that, a wide range of possible determinants of local turnout will be empirically tested. Special attention will be paid to contextual determinants (networks, neighborhoods, organisational membership, mass media). On an individual level, variables to be included cover political involvement, individuals’ resources, a felt duty to vote, instrumental orientations, and political disaffection. Concerning the latter, disaffection with local politics (and its actors) will be separated from national politics to determine the relative weights of the different levels of the political system in influencing turnout.

The dataset used for the survey in this study is stored in the GESIS data-archive, No: 4271.


Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger/Christian Mackenrodt. 2010. “Social networks and mass media as mobilizers and demobilizers: A study of turnout at a German local election.” Electoral Studies 29(3): 392-404. 

Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger/Christian Mackenrodt/Thorsten Faas. 2008. “Hintergründe kommunaler Wahlbeteiligung. Eine Fallstudie zur Kommunalwahl 2004 in Duisburg.” Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen 39(3): 561-580.

Conference papers

Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger/Robert Huckfeldt. “Personal Communication, Mass Communication, and Turnout at Local Elections.” Vortrag auf dem 20. World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA). Panel “RC22.112 Communication and Democratic Political Culture”. Fukuoka/Japan. 9.-13. Juli 2006. [download paper [PDF]]

Schmitt-Beck, Rüdiger. “Contextual Effects on Electoral Turnout at a German Municipal Election.” Vortrag im Rahmen der ECPR Joint Session of Workshops. Workshop zum Thema “Local Participation in Different Contexts”. Granada. 14.-19. April 2005. [download paper [PDF]]