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 the people living in Germany are politically interested and want to actively shape democracy.
- The Internet is predominantly viewed positively and has become one of the most important sources of information on political issues, especially for younger people. When it comes to social media and artificial intelligence, the population is more sceptical. While one-third of the population assesses these areas positively, the same share assesses them rather negatively or remains indecisive in their assessment.
- 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. This trust 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 in the Internet
- Around 40 per cent of Internet users in Germany came into contact with online hate speech and incivility the past year—a trend that continues to go downwards. A third of those 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 those reported having warned other people in such cases and having checked suspicious news themselves. However, fewer people reported “fake news“ to the platform operator.
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 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.
- 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.