Project on candidate selection for the German Parliamentary Elections of 2017

In its initial research project, IParl examines candidate selection during the German parliamentary elections of 2017 among the CDU, CSU, SPD, Die Linke and Bündnis90/Die Grünen as well as the FDP and the AfD.

Using both qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical political research, the project seeks to answer several questions:

  • “What is the structure of the nomination process?”
  • “Who are the candidates?”
  • “Who decided on the chances of a particular candidate enjoying success?”
  • “Which criteria played a role during the nomination?”
  • “Do the candidate recruitment processes vary among and within the parties, and if so, how?”

The project is composed of two key elements. First, a representative standardized survey of the candidates, delegates and party members was conducted via a questionnaire distributed among assemblies in approximately 110 electoral districts and 50 party conventions at the Land level. For this aspect of the project, we partnered with Richard Hilmer’s Opinion Research Institute Policy Matters and the firm USUMA LLC. The second element of the project came from observations and interviews with key stakeholders who provided us with a comprehensive picture of nomination events and the hitherto under-researched decision-making process which take place behind closed doors before the formal assemblies and conventions. 

Standardized survey with questionnaires

19.785 party members have been surveyed in 104 electoral districts and 52 conventions at the Land level by the Research Institute policy matters from Berlin. The return rate is about 51.1%. Four nearly identical versions of surveys have been distributed, differentiated by status of the respondents (candidates or selectors) and the selection level (constituency or Land level).

Further information concerning our project partners:

Partly standardised guideline interviews

The Objective of the qualitative survey is the reconstruction of events and decisions which took place before the assemblies. For this, 425 partly standardised guideline interviews have been made, 228 in electoral districts and 197 on the Land level. The audios comprising 63 hours have been completely transcribed. Currently, the transcripts and notes are analysed with MAXQDA.

Participative observation

On the whole 125 nomination assemblies have been scientifically observed. They included 72 assemblies in electoral districts and 53 party conventions on Land level. Most of the assemblies have been chosen following a randomised sample. Besides the IParl-Team also 43 staff members have been employed.

Media analysis

The media analysis catalogues articles as an additional source of information for the candidate selection for the German Bundestag 2017. With that, IParl can gather additional information within the scope of in-depth studies as well as new findings about the number and the way of reporting. More than 700 articles are already entered and catalogued.

Analysis of the statutes

The analysis of the statutes examines the regulations of the parties for the candidate nomination. For this, not only the statutes itself but all written rules available with reference to candidate nomination of the parties on federal level and Land level have been included (e.g. election regulations, rules of procedure, statutes for women). On the whole, 172 documents have been analysed.