The following issue of German Politics will include an article by Julia Partheymüller and Thorsten Faas, which can be downloaded in advance:
Julia Partheymüller, Thorsten Faas: The Impact of Online versus Offline Campaign Information on Citizens’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Political Behaviour: Comparing the German Federal Elections of 2005 and 2009, in: German Politics, 2015.
Since April 2015, our group of „empirical political science“ edits the working paper series „Mainzer Beiträge zur empirischen Politikforschung (M.BeeP)“ in order to make current results of our research on electoral behavior and attitudes accessible to the public.
With the help of field experimental methods, the first article by Thorsten Faas and Daniela Hohmann examines whether mobilizing measures in local elections, such as door-to-door visits or the distribution of flyers, have a positive effect on the turnout. This and upcoming articles can be found on the M.BeeP website ().
An article recently published in Electoral Studies analyzes the information landscape before the referendum on Stuttgart21 and its impact on citizens’ information. The results show that the information booklet, which the government of Baden-Württemberg distributed to all households and which contained the most important arguments against and in favor of the project, was most influential. The information booklet achieved a wide range, was perceived by many citizens from different circles and increased the citizens’ knowledge on the topic. As the impact of the state on citizens’ information in the run-up to direct democratic decisions thus becomes clear, the state should aim at a wide and balanced information distribution.
In cooperation with the Bertelsmann foundation, our team of empirical political researchers accompanies the participatory process of the planned transparency law in Rhineland-Palatinate. The aim of our study, which includes several different methods, is to examine whether the process meets the criteria of good citizen participation and to which extent the participatory process has an impact on the citizens’ attitudes towards the planned transparency law, democracy in Rhineland-Palatinate in general and the participatory process itself. Furthermore, public opinion and the “participatory footprint” will be scrutinized.
Further information on our project are available on our project site.
Our new project in cooperation with the Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik (BAPP) investigates changes of political communication as a consequence of new information technologies. The project examines the impact of social media usage on the attitude and behavior of voters and focuses on the corresponding consequences for political communication in Germany.
Since January 2015, I am a member of Thorsten Faas’ project on “political communication in times of new information and communication technology“. Promoted by the Bonner Akademie für Forschung und Lehre praktischer Politik, the project investigates the influence of social media usage on the attitude and behavior of voters and the corresponding consequences for political communication in Germany. Last December, I completed my Master’s degree in “Empirical Democracy Studies” at the University of Mainz, where I also achieved my Bachelor’s degree in “Political Science”. My research interest lies in the fields of political psychology and communication, comparative attitude-, value-, and participation research, and the methods of empirical social science.
In the context of Thorsten Faas’ seminar on organized interests and lobbyism, Professor Thomas Leif, chief reporter at the SWR regional channel in Mainz, was our guest. He presented his documentary “Leif trifft Lobbyisten” (Leif meets Lobbyists). Lobbyism is of special interest as there are two sides of the coin. On the one hand, it is criticized that former politicians shift their careers to companies while, on the other hand, a dialogue between politicians and the affected groups is needed for successful legislation. On this basis, the issue was controversially discussed after the lecture, which was attended by around 60 people. Moreover, Leif also gave some background information on his film.
In their latest publication on political communication in social web, Daniela Hohmann and Thorsten Faas consider the question to which extent voters in the Bundestag election 2013 use facebook as a source of political information. The main focus was laid on the scope, target audience, and usage of facebook. The empirical analysis, which is based on data collected during the election campaign, shows that facebook is used as an information platform by a considerable number of voters. However, the condition remains that the information find the reader rather than the other way around.
Daniela Hohmann, Thorsten Faas: „Das weiß ich von Facebook!“ – Politische Informationspotenziale in sozialen Online-Netzwerken im Kontext der Bundestagswahl 2013, in: Der Bürger im Staat, 64, 4/2014, S. 221-230.