Project

First Migrant Election Study

Goal: Conducting the first election study among Germans with migration background from Turkey and the former Soviet Union.

Data available @ GESIS: Goerres, Achim, Spies, Dennis C., & Mayer, Sabrina (2020). Immigrant German Election Study (IMGES). GESIS Datenarchiv, Köln. ZA7495 Datenfile Version 1.0.1, https://doi.org/10.4232/1.13544.

Date: 1 October 2016

Updates
0 new
25
Recommendations
0 new
6
Followers
0 new
96
Reads
3 new
4430

Project log

Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added a research item
Immigrants now constitute a sizeable and rapidly growing group among many Western countries' electorates, but analyses of their party preferences remain limited. Theoretically, immigrants' party preferences might be explained with both standard electoral theories and immigrant-specific approaches. In this article, we rigorously test both perspectives against each other using the most recent data from Germany. Applying the Michigan model, with its three central explanatory variables – party identification, issue orientations and candidate evaluations – to the party preferences of immigrant-origin and native voters, we find that this standard model can explain both groups well. In contrast, we find no direct effects of the most prominent immigrant-specific variables, and neither do these meaningfully moderate the Michigan variables. However, we find strong formative effects on the presence of political attitudes and beliefs: immigrants with a longer time spent in Germany, a stronger German identity and less experience of discrimination report significantly fewer item non-responses for the Michigan model's main explanatory variables.
Achim Goerres
added an update
We have produced the first version of a new paper
Integration and Transnational Political Interest among Immigrant-Origin Voters:
An Analysis of Germans from Turkey and their Children in the Immigrant German Election Study 2017
Accessible at the Social Science Research Network
Like all remaining work from the Immigrant German Election Study, we dedicate this to Dennis Spies who passed away on 19 June 2021.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
With deep sadness, Sabrina Jasmin Mayer Jonas Elis and I have to announce that our co-PI, co-author, mentor and friend Dennis C. Spies passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, 19 June 2021.
Prof Dennis Christopher Spies was a full professor of political economy at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. After having obtained a PhD and Habilitation from the University of Cologne and having worked as assistant professor there, he became associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark at Odense for a year and then took up a prestigious Heisenberg professorship, co-funded by the German Research Foundation, in Düsseldorf in 2020.
Dennis had three main topics of expertise: comparative party politics in Europe, especially Populist and Radical Right Parties (e.g. Spies/Franzmann 2011), the nexus between immigration and welfare state in advanced industrial economies (e.g. Spies 2018) and the voting behaviour of immigrant-origin citizens in Germany (e.g. Spies/Goerres/Mayer 2020). Dennis was particularly strong at synthesising theoretical work from different traditions, translating empirical findings into clear text and framing the overall argument. Thereby, he was well equipped to collaborate successfully with a multitude of scholars.
Dennis Spies was the first of his family to go to university. He grew up in the German Lower Rhineland in Willich, the only child of a kindergarten teacher and a bar owner. Throughout his adult life, he maintained an admirably broad network of friends from all walks of life and could communicate well with anyone, regardless of social status. At his farewell party in Cologne in 2019, scientists, students, gym and bar acquaintances, childhood friends and former co-students mingled merrily.
With taking up the professorship in Düsseldorf in 2020, Dennis had accomplished his dream to become a tenured professor close to his parents while being able to live in his beloved Cologne, a city where he lived for almost 20 years.
Dennis Christopher Spies passed away unexpectedly on 19 June 2021 aged 40. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends as well as by all of his collaborators, colleagues and students.
References
  • Spies, Dennis C. /Franzmann, Simon T. (2011): A Two-Dimensional Approach to the Political Opportunity Structure of Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, West European Politics, 34:5, 1044-1069, DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2011.591096
  • Spies, Dennis C, (2018): Immigration and Welfare State Retrenchment: Why the US Experience is not Reflected in Western Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Spies, Dennis C. /Mayer, Sabrina J. /Goerres, Achim (2020): What are we missing? Explaining Immigrant-Origin Voter Turnout with Standard and Immigrant-Specific Theories, Electoral Studies, 102103, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2019.102103
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
Finally, we are able to share with you exciting news! IMGES II was accepted for funding by the DFG today and we are really glad to be able to continuing immigrant-origin voters' electoral behaviour - this time focussing on the longitudinal level in one local context!
Join us here https://bit.ly/3e69EPs for more information and further updates!
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added 2 research items
One of the major drivers of societal conflict are the intergroup relations which rely mainly on social identity and which are rarely analyzed for immigrant groups. This article changes this point of view by investigating the extent to which national, ethnic, and religious identities relate to outgroup hostilities towards the majority of the German population, towards other immigrant groups, and towards Syrian refugees among immigrant‐origin citizens. We employ a theoretical framework based on the social identity approach and use new representative survey data from 2017 for Germans of Turkish descent (N = 480) and Russian Germans (N = 471). Based on multivariate linear regression analysis, we show that ethnic identity has the strongest positive relation with outgroup hostilities, with the exception of the Russian‐Germans' evaluation of the German majority population. National identity among Germans of Turkish descent lessens their hostility towards other immigrants. Our results show the importance of analyzing immigrant groups with different migration trajectories separately before making generalized claims. Not only are the identity relations different between an ingroup identification and various outgroup targets, but they are also different between the immigrant groups for the same ingroup identification and outgroup target.
Achim Goerres
added an update
Conference presentation by Achim Goerres at the 2020 ECPR virtual conference, based on work with Sabrina Mayer, Jonas Elis and Dennis Spies
Slides are available at achimgoerres.de
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
The paper was presented at the ECPR virtual conference 2020.
Spies/Mayer/Goerres/Elis
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
The post-election F2F survey with Germans of Turkish descent and with Soviet background (1st and 2nd generation) is available from gesis for download. The data are synchronised with the German Longitudinal Election Study fielded in the same period and harmonised in parts with the Ethnic Minority British Election Study 2010
Goerres, Achim; Spies, Dennis C.; Mayer, Sabrina (2020): Immigrant German Election Study (IMGES). GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA7495 Data file Version 1.0.1, https://doi.org/10.4232/1.13544
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
We conducted four focus groups in German with German citizens with Soviet background before the 2017 Bundestag election. The data are available for reproduction and replication purposes from QUALISERVICE at the University of Bremen.
Goerres, Achim; Spies, Dennis C; Mayer, Sabrina J (2020): Das Wahlverhalten der Deutschen mit Migrationshintergrund, qualitative Phase. Transkripte der Fokusgruppeninterviews. PANGAEA, https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.919342
Our publication based on these data:
Goerres, Achim; Mayer, Sabrina J; Spies, Dennis C (2020): Immigrant voters against their will: a focus group analysis of identities, political issues and party allegiances among German resettlers during the 2017 bundestag election campaign. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(7), 1205-1222, https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1503527
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
New presentation in Odense on transnational voting behaviour of Germans of Turkish descent
This time, we run a series of comparative regression models.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
I am giving - at short notice - the lunch lecture at the 24 h Political Psychology Meeting in Hagen. See slides here.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
Sabrina Mayer has moved to become the head of data and methods at the DEZIM Institut in Berlin. She remains a member of the IMGES project group in her capacity as a PI of the consecutive project.
The group is joined by Jonas Elis as a PhD student who has just finished his MA in Survey Methodology. He will take on the technical duties for IMGES II the revised funding application we will submit soon.
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
The year (and also our project) is coming to a close, so let's see what happened within the last weeks:
First, and foremost, we are very proud that our paper on turnout, "What are we missing? Explaining immigrant-origin voter turnout with standard and immigrant-specific theories" was accepted by Electoral Studies and is forthcoming right now!
In addition, two contributions in edited volumes should also be finalised within the next weeks.
The data preparation for GESIS is also in the final stage; we expect the data to be available around March 2020. We will also store the qualitative data at a data hosting facility for secondary analyses.
Last, I finished my habilitation thesis and will submit it next month.
Many more things to come!
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added a research item
While the explanation of voter turnout is undoubtedly one of the major topics of electoral research, we know relatively little about how to explain the turnout of voters with an immigration background. Two perspectives can be distinguished. The first is that immigrant turnout can be explained by standard theories, i.e. those theories which are also used for native voters. In contrast, the second perspective highlights the role of immigrant-specific factors, such as ethnic networks, social identity patterns and discrimination experiences. In this research note, we test these perspectives against each other, relying on the most recent and high-quality survey data from the 2017 German federal election (the Immigrant German Election Study). In summary, we find that standard approaches can be used fruitfully to explain immigrant voter turnout in the 2017 German federal election, and immigrant-specific variables can add very little to them.
Achim Goerres
added an update
It is September 2019.
Dennis Spies moved to Odense as Associate Professor. Sabrina Mayer is finishing the competion of her Habilitation thesis.
We submitted an application for IMGES II to the German Research Foundation with Goerres and Mayer as PIs and Spies as Mercator Fellow.
We got Revise and Resubmit for the paper on turnout and have re-submitted the new version to Electoral Studies.
The paper on party preferences is submitted.
There are three new papers on the horizon:
a. one about comparing turnout using German data (IMGES) and British data (EMBES). Lead Sabrina Mayer.
b. a second about the AfD and the Russian Germans. Lead Dennis Spies.
c. a third about the transnational voting behaviour of Germans of Turkish descent. Lead Achim Goerres
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
The first three months of 2019 have almost passed and we wanted to share an update on the current state of the project with you!
Data (we now have a lot)
- We finished the second data collection wave in 2018 (mixed-mode online/telephone)
- We prepare the first wave data now for submission to GESIS (expected for spring 2020)
Publications - keep your fingers crossed!
- We have finished three manuscripts that are currently under review
- We also wrote two chapters for edited volumes that are currently with the editors
Other things
We hosted a workshop in Cologne in February 2019 which was a great and fruitful experience.
Currently, we are working on the follow-up grant, IMGES II.
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
Summer's here, the semester break is two days away, so we'd like to tell you about what happened in 2018 so far.
  • Our paper with the focus group data on the political allegiances of Russian Germans was accepted by the Journal for Ethnic and Migration Studies!
  • We started the data collection for our second panel wave by mid June and hope to be finished by August 2018. In this wave, we will focus on some methodological experiments.
  • We are finishing and refining two papers on vote choice and political participation with data from our quantative study that will be presented at EPOP/UK and ECPR/Germany.
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added a research item
This paper provides an analysis of the political preferences of ethnic Germans who emigrated from the Soviet Union or its successor states. These resettlers (Aussiedler) and their descendants represent the biggest group of immigrant voters in Germany and reveal a rare combination of citizenship, ethnic identity and party support that makes it particularly interesting for applying existing approaches to immigrant voting behaviour. The analysis explores the link between identity, political issue and candidate orientations, and the (traditionally high) support of resettlers for the Christian Democrats. It also addresses the possibility of Germany’s newest Radical Right Party the Alternative for Germany attracting this particular group of voters. Evidence for both of these trends can be identified based on a series of focus groups conducted in early 2017, pointing especially to the role of group identity and immigration policy preferences.
Achim Goerres
added a research item
First results of the Immigrant German Election Study, English version. The Immigrant German Election Study 2017 is the first electoral study that allows precise estimates about the behaviour of Immigrant Voters at a German federal election. It is funded by the German Research Foundation. The Principal Investigators are Achim Goerres (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Dennis Spies (University of Cologne) with Sabrina J. Mayer as the project manager based in Duisburg. The field work was commissioned to infas Bonn. About 500 Germans from the former Soviet Union (1st and 2nd immigrant generation, abbrev. DRUS) and 500 Germans of Turkish descent (1st and 2nd generation, abbrev. DTUR) were randomly selected from all resident members of these groups in Germany by a multi-stage sampling procedure (random sample of local districts – random sample of residents – classification of residents according to their name and other information – screening interview – full interview). The face-to-face study was conducted directly after the federal election from 2nd of October until 3rd of December 2017. This is the first brief from a series of outputs.
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added a research item
Report of the first results of the Immigrant German Election Study, German version. Die Immigrant German Election Study ist die erste Wahlstudie, die aufgrund hochwertiger Daten präzise Aussagen zum Wahlverhalten von Deutschen mit Migrationshintergrund bei der Bundestagswahl 2017 macht. Sie wurde durch Forscher der Universitäten Duisburg-Essen und Köln mithilfe von Geldern der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft durchgeführt. Knapp 500 Deutsche mit sowjetischem oder postsowjetischem Hintergrund („Russlanddeutsche“) sowie knapp 500 türkeistämmige Deutsche („Deutschtürken“) wurden zufällig ausgewählt und persönlich bei sich zuhause nach der Bundestagswahl befragt. Dies ist der erste Bericht einer Serie von Auswertungen.
Achim Goerres
added an update
We received the survey data and are busy crunching the first estimates. End of february or beginning March should see some first results here and on SSRN
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
Finally, as 2017 is approaching its end, we want to give you a new update on our project's progress:
  • After 8.5 weeks in the field, we reached our goal of N=1,000 interviews yesterday! Data for our first analyses is expected to arrive at the beginning of 2018.
  • We received a R&R for our first paper at a major journal and are really glad about that.
  • Furthermore, we are working on a book project in German and are writing the first 3 chapters at the moment.
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added a research item
This paper has since been published in Ethnic and Migration Studies Immigrants Voters against their will? The oreprint on the first author's webpage. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1503527 This paper presents the first evidence from the Immigrant German Election Study (2017), based on a focus group analysis of ethnic Germans who emigrated from the Soviet Union or its successor states. Aussiedler who represent the biggest group of immigrant voters in Germany are an extreme case study as they reveal a rare combination of socio-economic characteristics typical of immigrants and of identity as well as citizenship characteristics that are rarely found with immigrants. The size and rare combination of traits of this group make it particularly useful to study them in order to improve existing theories of immigrant voting. The analysis explores the following questions: What is the link between identities and political preferences? Which political issues are salient to this group and how does that salience relate to what is on offer? How is the relationship between the group and the Christian Democrats seen? In essence: (1) There is a cohort pattern of declining gratefulness to the CDU/CSU among younger cohorts that is also mirrored in differences in identity formation as German. (2) The perceptions of refugees and of the government’s refugee policies contrasted with the observed and constructed experience of their group, revealing a declining willingness to vote for the CDU/CSU. (3) The ethnic construction of being German, more pronounced among the old, finds an outlet for some Aussiedler among the supply of the new Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) that systematically targets this group as a handful of small right-extremist parties have tried before.
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
Almost one year ago, we started to work on this project. So, what have we achieved so far?
  • We finished the qualitative stage and conducted several focus group interviews among Russian-Germans in North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • Today, we submitted our first paper on Identities, Issues and Partisanship among Russian-Germans to a journal.
  • We organized a conference in Duisburg, where participants provided us with great feedback, pre-tested and finalised our questionnaire, and had it translated into Russian and Turkish.
  • Next week, the quantitative stage really sets off and interviews with Russian Germans and Germans of Turkish descent start - and we're really looking forward to conduct our first analyses with the data!
 
Sabrina Jasmin Mayer
added an update
The first draft of our paper on the causal chain between identities, political issues and allegiances to the right among Ethnic Germans from the Soviet Union is going to be presented at the Council for European Studies - 24th International Conference next week.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
We had an expert workshop in March and finished the first version of the questionnaire on time. Waiting for pretests now. We continue collection focus group data.
We are invited to give talks in academic and media circles. Never had so much interest before the real results!
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
More extensive project description
Project description
Our project aims to conduct the first Immigrant German Election Study for the federal election in 2017, targeting German citizens with an immigrant background, i.e. people who either migrated to Germany themselves (first generation) or have at least one parent who was born in another country (second generation). The project is funded by the German Research Foundation from October 2016 until September 2019. Due to limited data, previous studies could not provide multivariate analyses of the voting behaviour of different migration groups and generations. Even though theoretical approaches are available that explain the turnout of migrant voters, theories that explain migrants’ vote choice are scarce. At the same time, the exploration of the voting behaviour of this growing sub-population is of considerable scientific and political relevance. Migrant voters are a highly interesting group for electoral researchers because the political socialization of citizens with an immigrant background and citizens without an immigrant background often varies considerably. In our study, we focus on the two most relevant migrant groups in Germany: German citizens of Turkish descent (about 1.3 million) and of Russian/Soviet descent (about 2.4 million). Therefore, the main goal of our project is to explore whether the voting behaviour of German citizens of migrant origin can be explained by established voting theories or if it is more dependent on migrant-specific characteristics (e.g. socio-economic integration). Our project consists of two stages. First, we will conduct focus group discussions with German citizens of Turkish and Russian/Soviet descent, respectively, for a more thorough understanding of the identity contents and issue orientations. Results from this stage will be used for the development of the questionnaire for the quantitative stage. Simultaneously with the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) post-election survey, interviews will be conducted with 500 German citizens of Turkish descent and 500 German citizens of Russian/Soviet descent at the end of 2017. Our multi-language study design will allow us to conduct the first representative analysis of the determinants of vote choice for migrant voters in Germany.
Qualitative Stage
The qualitative stage of the project will explore the issue and candidate orientations of migrants. The results will be used for the development of the questionnaire for the quantitative stage. The core questions are: Which political issues are classified as important to all Germans/all migrants from the same group? What political issues do Germans of immigrant origin perceive as “left” and “right”? What are the identity contents that Germans of migrant origin associate with being German? We use focus group interviews as the research method and intend to conduct 10 focus groups in the Duisburg area that will consist of 6-7 participants each and last for about 90 minutes. We will stratify the participants by migration group (Turkish or Russian/Soviet descent), gender and migration history (first or second generation immigrants). In addition, we will conduct one focus group each in Russian and Turkish. These additional focus groups ensure that we will also reach German citizens who acquired German citizenship by marriage but do not have sufficient German language skills to participate in German. We will start the focus group discussions in January 2017.
Quantitative Stage
The quantitative stage of the project consists of a standardized computer-assisted personal survey of German citizens of Russian and Turkish descent, respectively. 500 interviews will be conducted within each migrant group. Contrary to the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES), we will focus exclusively on German citizens of migration descent so that the case numbers will be high enough to perform multivariate analyses. Our sampling strategy consists of a two-step sampling procedure. First, we will draw German municipalities (“Gemeinden”) as Primary Sample Units (PSU), using a Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) procedure that weighs the likelihood of a PSU to be chosen by the number of residents of a municipality. Second, personal addresses will be drawn from the residents’ registration offices registers, and onomastic procedures will be used to determine the origin of the first and last name. The survey is supposed to last about 60 minutes and will be conducted synchronously to the GLES post-election survey in November 2017. Available survey languages will be German, Russian or Turkish. The questionnaire consists of two parts. The first part reflects established items for electoral research that are also used in the GLES post-election survey to ensure the comparability of our sample with the group of autochthonous citizens. The second part encompasses items that capture migrant-specific characteristics (e.g. citizenship, membership in ethnic organisations, and ethnic identity). We also ask for the participants’ willingness to participate in further surveys so we will be able to use the sample to conduct a second survey.
Team
Prof. Dr. Achim Goerres, University of Duisburg-Essen & Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM) Principal Investigator specializes in survey research, especially electoral research. He published numerous studies on voting turn out, vote choice, other forms of political participation, and political attitudes in Germany or Europe.
PD Dr. Dennis Spies, University of Cologne, Cologne Centre for Comparative Politics, Principal Investigator worked extensively on the topics of immigration, voting behaviour, and political attitudes in international comparison. He focuses on the impact of immigration on voting behaviour and political attitudes of autochthonous citizens.
Dr Sabrina Mayer, University of Duisburg-Essen & Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM) Projekt manager Her PhD project focused on the social identity of party adherents and the measurement of multiple party identifications. Her research interests are political psychology, qualitative and quantitative methods as well as research on social identity of political groups.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
We are harmonising the questionnaire with items from electoral research and migration studies.
 
Achim Goerres
added an update
We started collecting focus group data from German citizens of Turkish descent and of Russian/Soviet descent in the Duisburg area.
 
Achim Goerres
added a project goal
Conducting the first election study among Germans with migration background from Turkey and the former Soviet Union.
Data available @ GESIS: Goerres, Achim, Spies, Dennis C., & Mayer, Sabrina (2020). Immigrant German Election Study (IMGES). GESIS Datenarchiv, Köln. ZA7495 Datenfile Version 1.0.1, https://doi.org/10.4232/1.13544.