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German Federal Election studies

The database consists of cross-sections, panel studies, and cumulated studies on general elections in Germany. It comprises representative surveys for all German federal elections held since 1949, as well as Politbarometer, Kieler Wahlstudien, Forsa-Bus and DeutschlandTREND. Through the GESIS Search, the complete holdings can be searched and downloaded . Please follow this link (it might take a moment for the page to load).

As a precursor to today's database,  the "election surveys" from 1953 – 1976 had been conditioned and supplemented with machine-readable code books in English and German between 1973 and 1978 by the Central Archive in cooperation with the Mannheim-based ZUMA (Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen) and the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann Arbor/USA) as part of the "German Election Data Project" (GED). For a long time, no data was available for the 1957 federal elections; this gap was closed through the integration of data from a poll conducted by Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach. Concurrently with this work, the overview "Variables Over Time: Continuity Guide to the German Election Data Project 1953-1976" was prepared and published by the Central Archive in 1978. At that time the data base comprised 10 surveys with a total of 18,220 respondents and 3500 variables. The GESIS Data Archive has been continuing with this project ever since. The report "Overview of Variables from Fifteen 'Election Surveys' on Federal Elections between 1953 and 1987", by Rolf Uher, was published in 1990. Except for the 1949 survey, which was not acquired until 1993, and that for 1957 (made available in 2000), the complete database for the "old" Federal Republic is thus available in two languages for international users. In the meantime the database has grown to over 30 election surveys from 1949 through 2005 and over 9000 variables, with numbers, names, question and response texts placed in a relational database. These variables were summarized into about 2000 subject categories surveyed more or less regularly over a 60-year period.

"Kieler Wahlstudien" are surveys that were conducted between 1976 and 1990 in conjunction with federal elections. For more information and access to the datasets and documents go to our GESIS search.

Please note: Datasets and documents are available in German only.

The empirical social research has a long tradition, dating back to the 70s in the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The focus of research is social change, political attitudes, extremism and participation research, the explanation of voting behavior and party research. The aim is, by scientific means to create a basis for political action and to identify future trends early. Especially the social, democratic and partisan trends are focused here. Located at the interface between politics and science, such developments are to be explored, which have an impact on the policy, the party system and the political decision-making processes.

In the database there are both specific election studies  as well as studies with focus one major topic and omnibus surveys with broad contents. Many variables are also collected regularly, so that trend analyzes are possible.

The studies are available on the GESIS search.

Please note: Datasets and documents are available in German only.