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German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES)

History of the GLES

GLES as a DFG-funded election study on the 2009, 2013 and 2017 German federal elections

The German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) was initiated by the German Society for Electoral Studies (DGfW) in 2009. The aim of the project was the collection and provision of high-quality data on elections. The GLES was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of its long-term program for the social sciences and humanities from 2009 to 2022. In addition to the goal of generating data, efforts have been made to establish an effective infrastructure for national and international comparative election research.

As a German election study, the GLES was conducted in close cooperation between the DGfW and GESIS from the very beginning. The research program and design of the election study were determined by the principal investigators of the DFG-funded project, who, with the exception of Christof Wolf (GESIS), also formed the Executive Board of the DGfW. GESIS operated in an advisory function. In addition, GESIS was responsible for the preparation, documentation, distribution, and archiving of the GLES data during the DFG-funded phase.

During the DFG funding phase, a total of six researchers were responsible for the GLES:

  • Prof. Dr. Hans Rattinger (University of Mannheim) 2009-2014
  • Prof. Dr. Sigrid Roßteutscher (University of Frankfurt) since 2009
  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (University of Mannheim) since 2009
  • Prof. Dr. Harald Schoen (University of Mannheim) since 2015
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels (WZB Berlin Social Science Center) since 2009
  • Prof. Dr. Christof Wolf (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences) since 2012

In addition, some parts of the GLES study were led by associated researchers:

  • Prof. Dr. Frank Brettschneider from 2009 to 2011, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Faas, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Maier, and Prof. Dr. Michaela Maier from 2009 to 2017 responsible for the "TV Duel" study section.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Gschwend, Prof. Dr. Hermann Schmitt, Dr. Andreas Wüst, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Zittel from 2009 to 2011 responsible for the "Candidate Study"

The scientific community was continuously involved in the GLES through the Executive Board and the Executive Committee of the DGfW.

An overview of the GLES design for the 2009, 2013 and 2017 German federal elections can be found here (632 kB).

GLES as an institutionalized election study since 2018

From the beginning, the efforts of the DGfW and GESIS aimed at the permanent institutionalization of a German election study. This goal was achieved in 2017:

Together with other important survey studies in the social sciences, the GLES was institutionalized in the Integrated Survey and Data Infrastructure (IEDI) at GESIS. Since 2018, GESIS is responsible for the coordination, administration, and financing of the GLES and thus offers a reliable and long-term perspective for the implementation of the German election study. The research program and the design of the GLES are specified by the GLES Coordination Group, which continues to be composed of the DGfW Executive Board.

Former members of the GLES Coordination Group:

  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, between 2018 and 2019 member and speaker of the GLES Coordination Group
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Weßels, between 2018 and 2019 member of the GLES Coordination Group

An overview of the GLES design from 2017 to 2021 can be found here (694 kB).

Information on the current design of the GLES can be found under GLES Design.