Cross-sectional surveys are the core of all election studies worldwide. Therefore, they are also the core of GLES in all three elections (component 1, directed by Prof. Dr. Sigrid Roßteutscher and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wessels).
For each of the three elections, about 2,100 interviews will be conducted in both the pre-election and post-election surveys. The target population includes all citizens who are able to vote and have a total of 15 years of continuous residency in Germany. The ratio between East and West German respondents is one-third to two-thirds; this shows that East-Germans are overrepresented. This overrepresentation is necessary in order to examine in detail differences and harmonization processes in the political orientations between East and West.
Pre- and post-election surveys are carried out as “Computer Assisted Personal Interviews” (CAPI). The interviews last about an hour. In the questionnaire, devices from the Bundestag election panel and cross section studies of Falter, Gabriel, and Rattinger, conducted from 1994-2002 (ZA4301 ZA3065, ZA3066, ZA3861), as well as the 2005 Election Study of Kühnel, Niedermayer, and Westle (ZA4332) are utilized as much as possible in order to enable comparisons over time. In addition, the post-election questionnaire covers the updated question module of the
“Comparative Study of Electoral Systems” (CSES). Thanks to this, the GLES allows for internationally comparative research questions for election studies across diverse institutional contexts as well as for temporal continuity with the German CSES studies of 1998 (ZA3073), 2002 (ZA4216), and 2005 (ZA4559). In addition to seeking a perspective comparative across time and countries, the GLES also collects innovative and current perspectives from international election studies as well as from image research by embedding new question devices pertaining to, e.g., coalition preferences, emotions, and personality traits.
During the designing phase of the questionnaires, special attention is directed at connecting all components in the GLES; particularly those carried out during the campaign (components 2 and 3), the media content analysis (component 4), as well as the candidate study (component 6).