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Pre-election Online Tracking

(Component X)

Outside of the GLES project itself and funded separately through a grant by GESIS, additionally six online tracking surveys were conducted in 2009.

This component supplements the two short-term components 2 and 3 which monitor voters’ responses to the campaign at close distance. During several previous German elections significant turns in public opinion occurred several months before the start of the ‘hot’ campaign in the immediate run-up to the election, and they often foreshadowed the election results.

The pre-election online tracking surveys provide a means of detecting and analyzing such movements in public opinion. As a number of other elections took place during this period in Germany (election of the Federal President, European election, several state elections), possible dynamic effects emerging from the campaigns and outcomes of previous elections on voters’ party preferences for the upcoming national election (often assumed, but never shown) might become visible through the additional conducted trackings.

The successive cross-sectional online surveys of component X always includes a common core (largely overlapping with the survey instruments of the GLES) as well as specific questions referring to special issues (economic situation, issues, emotions) or specific situational circumstances of each wave (coalitions, European election).