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Citizens, Elections, and Democracy: Unified Germany in Cross-National and Historical Perspective

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Fritz Thyssen Stiftung

Based on the exit polls from the parliamentary election in 2017 we study how political information reaches the voters around national elections. Discussions within the private sphere are an important reference point, which can be monitored and classified through the information received through the media. As part of the exit polls, our study follows up the questions concerning the information exchange especially within the social media context. We are interested in the effects that influence the political views and the behavior of the individual through social and media communication on politics and polls. Personal conversations with friends, family and colleagues come into focus like the role of the mediator of old and new media. People’s understanding of what a democracy in its core represents is increasingly becoming more and more heterogeneous. Consensus within the population what a democracy is and what makes it function or would make it function, appears to be more and more difficult to imagine. Under these conditions, the study devotes itself to the question, whether a populist democratic understanding relates to citizens that fundamentally other mechanisms and goals behold as premise for representative democracy. The study is part of the „Comparative National Elections Project“(CNEP), which has transnationally analyzed political views and the polls behavior of citizens since 1990 in 46 elections in 24 countries so far. Besides the basic survey questions, the national extended surveys give the possibility to go deeper into different electoral systems and current issues.

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