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German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES)

The 2005 German federal election marks a culmination point of changes that had been going on for decades as a consequence of general social change, and were additionally spurred by German unification. These changes concern the behavior 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 next three federal elections (2009, 2013, 2017), the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) will observe and analyze 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 will generate and extensively analyze a comprehensive, complex, and integrated data base that links cross-sectional with longitudinal data, both short-term and long-term. It will combine surveys about voting behavior with key dimensions of the context within which votes are cast, by means of analyses of media, candidates, and campaigns, and it will span several elections, covering both campaign periods and the time in-between elections. All data generated by this hitherto most comprehensive program of German electoral research will be treated as a public good and made immediately accessible to all interested social scientists. An overview the study design can be found here (PDF, 166 kB).

For further information on the GLES please visit the GLES website or the MZES website. You will also find information on the two components which are conducted at the MZES: the rolling cross-section study with post-election panel wave and the campaign media content analysis.