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. Also, you can explore and visualize the data interactively in our Data Explorer.

Political Interest and Attitudes Towards Democracy and Digitalization

  • A great majority of people in Germany are politically interested and want to shape democracy actively.
  • After television, the Internet is Germany’s second most important medium for political information. Two-thirds of citizens obtain information on political topics from the Internet at least several times a week. In particular, men, people with a higher level of education, and people with higher incomes use the internet comparatively frequently. These differences can hardly be found in the usage of other media.
  • Although the majority of citizens evaluate democracy as functioning well, about a quarter doubt that elections make a difference in politics.
  • Despite public criticism of the government’s pandemic measures, the public’s trust in politics increased in 2020 and stabilized in the following two years. The effect that governments often achieve higher trust scores during times of crisis has not been observed yet in the context of Russia‘s war of aggression on Ukraine.

Political Participation

  • Traditional forms of social and political engagement are supplemented on a large scale by digital forms of participation, especially among young age groups. Sharing and commenting on political content has become established in the population’s participation repertoire. In addition, the decline of some traditional political activities, such as party membership or contacting politicians, is evident. The Corona pandemic may have reinforced this development: Even after contact restrictions were lifted, volunteering or signing petitions did not increase again.
  • The most popular forms of political participation are donations, boycotting/buycotting of certain products for political or ethical reasons, mobilizing other people, and signing petitions.
  • In the face of national and international disasters, more people donated money to political or charitable causes in 2021 than in previous years. Despite political uncertainties and inflation, the number of people donating remained stable at a high level in 2022 and has increased in a longer-term comparison. In 2023, the willingness to donate fell significantly compared to the last two years, which can be attributed to the economic recession and concerns about inflation.
  • People who place themselves lower on the social ladder participate less than people who consider themselves to be of a higher social status. While this relation is strongly pronounced for traditional forms of participation, the differences are smaller for digital forms of participation.

Citizenship Norms

  • 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 on 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 on the Internet

  • Younger people are much more aware of hate comments and fake news online than older people and are more active in countering them.
  • In 2023, around 40% of internet users in Germany encountered hate messages online, a slight increase from the previous year. Around a third of these people have reported or spoken out publicly against such posts.
  • More than a third of internet users have encountered fake news in the past year. Just over half of the participants stated that they had warned others in such cases, and two-thirds stated that they checked suspicious messages themselves. In contrast, only around 25% of people decided to report fake news to platform operators.

Gender Differences in Political Participation

  • Women show less political interest and rate their political self-efficacy lower than men. 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 on social media.
  • A large majority of people support calls for more women in political leadership positions. However, there is significantly less support for a gender quota—even among women.

Antidemocratic Participation

  • About one in ten people in Germany have authoritarian attitudes.
  • Compared to the total population, people with authoritarian attitudes use all forms of political participation considerably less. Contrary to public perception, it is probably only a small minority with antidemocratic attitudes that is particularly vocal in influencing political discourse.

Attitudes towards artificial intelligence and social media

  • The Internet is predominantly viewed positively. Despite a slightly positive trend compared to the previous year, the population is still more critical of social media. Only around 41% of people rate social media as “rather positive or very positive”.
  • Attitudes towards artificial intelligence (AI) have become somewhat more skeptical in 2023 compared to 2022. Around a third of respondents, therefore a higher proportion of the population than in the previous year, rate AI as “rather negative or very negative”. However, this is mainly due to a shift in sentiment among people with lower and middle incomes and older populations. Better educated and younger people, on the other hand, view AI much more positively than a year ago.

Experiences with Artificial Intelligence

  • The majority of the population states that they have already had their first experiences with AI in their leisure time. In contrast, less than a quarter of respondents have used AI at work, in education, or in apprenticeships.
  • The attitude towards the consequences of AI in work and education is generally positive—in the leisure sector, the assessment is more ambivalent.