Below, you find an overview of the findings from previous surveys of the Weizenbaum Panel. This summary is updated with every new survey. More detailed accounts and analysis can be found in the publications section.
Political Interest and Attitudes towards Democracy
- A great majority of the people living in Germany is politically interested and wants to actively shape the democracy.
- The Internet has become one of the most important source of information for political issues, especially for younger people. Additionally, social media gain significance.
- Although the majority of citizens evaluates the democracy as functioning, about a quarter doubts that elections actually make a difference in politics.
- Despite public criticism of the government’s pandemic measures, the public’s trust in politics has not declined in the last two years.
- Classical forms of social or political engagement are being complemented by digital means of participation to a great extent, especially in young age cohorts.
- The most popular forms of political participation are donations, petitions, boycotting / buycotting of certain products for political or ethical reasons, and mobilizing other people.
- Participation is characterized by notable social divides: people with low formal education take less part in politics, particularly in Internet-based activities.
- Political participation in Germany has remained relatively stable during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although activities that require a physical presence, such as involvement in social organizations or participation in demonstrations, have declined slightly, citizens continue to engage politically on social media.
- In the face of national and international disasters, more people donated money to political or charitable causes in 2021 than in previous years.
- Traditional citizenship norms like attending elections, compliance with laws and following political topics in the media are being evaluated as very important.
- Norms aiming at respectful public discourse in the Internet also receive support.
- A majority of the people in Germany think that good citizens should engage with information in a responsible way and actively counter disinformation and hate speech.
Civil courage in the Internet
- Nearly half of the Internet users in Germany came in contact with online hate speech and incivility in the course of the past year. A third of them reacted to such content by reporting it or speaking up against it at least once.
- About a third of Internet users came into contact with so called “fake news” during the past year. Two thirds of them reported to have warned other people in such cases at least once.
Gender Differences in Political Participation
- Women show less political interest and rate their political self-efficacy lower than men. In general, they also participate less in political activities. However, significantly more women than men report having consumed or dispensed with certain products for political or ethical reasons.
- Differences are also evident in political debates online: More men than women comment on and share political content in social media.
- A large majority of women and men support calls for more women in political leadership positions. However, there is significantly less support for a gender quota – even among women.