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The 2017 German Election Tracker

Welcome to the German Election Tracker. The German Election Tracker has been designed specifically to measure the electorate's interest in the six main parties competing for seats in Germany’s parliament (Bundestag) in the upcoming elections.


What is the German Election Tracker?

The German Election Tracker compares the amount of online news traffic generated by the parties competing in the German parliamentary election in real time. It answers a simple question: Which party is attracting the most interest (both positive and negative) at any given moment? With the most comprehensive dataset on German TV and newspaper audiences ever at our disposal, we focused on creating a single indicator to measure which party is attracting the highest level of interest in the German media.

No existing data source provides a complete picture of the public opinion. Polling data aims to predict who would win an election if it were held right away, based on small samples of the electorate. Previous watershed elections have shown that polls may not be as reliable as they were in the past. Social media can offer useful insights into virality and reach, as it did in the case of Donald Trump's election victory last year. But social media is an unreliable proxy for a party or party’s level of support among the population as a whole, given that not all demographic and socioeconomic groups use the internet in equal numbers.

Which of Germany’s main parties commands the highest level of interest from the electorate remains a crucial and unanswered question. To help cut through the data glut, we present a new metric with unparalleled granularity and scope: the German Election Tracker. It builds on the success of our hugely popular French Election Tracker (FET), which correctly predicted that Emmanuel Macron would win both rounds of the French presidential election, as well as the ranking of candidates in round one and the percentage result of the final round with an error margin of only 1.1%. Hundreds of thousands of people in France followed the FET data on Twitter (see media coverage of the FET here). Since its launch, the German Election Tracker has been covered by Business Insider.





Who is featured in the German Election Tracker?

The German Election Tracker features the six main parties in the German parliamentary election of 2017. Germany’s electoral system is complex, but its defining feature is that the electorate votes on the composition of the Bundestag, the federal parliament, using a system of proportional representation. Proportional representation means that a party that receives one third of the votes will receive approximately one third of the seats. The party (or coalition) with the majority of seats elects the Chancellor. For the election campaign (Wahlkampf), each party draws up a ranked list of the candidates that will receive seats in parliament, with the top-ranked candidates (Spitzenkandidaten) leading the campaign effort.


CDUCSU

CDU/CSU (Angela Merkel): Sometimes called the Union parties or Union, the CDU/CSU is the Christian democratic political alliance of two political parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Both parties share a perspective based on Christian democracy and conservatism, and hold the dominant centre-right position in the German political spectrum. The CDU is the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

SPD

SPD (Martin Schulz): A social-democratic political party and one of the two major contemporary political parties in Germany, along with the CDU. The SPD has governed at the federal level in Germany as part of a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU since December 2013 following the results of the 2013 federal election.

Die Linke

Die Linke (Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch): A democratic socialist and left-wing populist political party. The party was founded in 2007 as the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG).

Die Grünen

Die Grünen (Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir): A green political party, formed from the merger of the German Green Party (founded in West Germany in 1980) and Alliance 90 (founded during the Revolution of 1989–1990 in East Germany) in 1993. The focus of the party is on ecological, economic and social sustainability.

FDP

FDP (Christian Lindner): A socially and economically liberal political party. It was a junior coalition partner to either the CDU/CSU (1949–56, 1961–66, 1982–98, and 2009–13) or the SPD (1969–82). However, in the 2013 federal election the FDP failed to win any directly elected seats in the Bundestag, and came up short of the 5 percent threshold to qualify for list representation.

AfD

AfD (Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland): A right-wing populist and Eurosceptic political party.




There are more than six parties running in the election, but only these six parties are generating enough coverage to calculate a value according to the German Election Tracker's methodology.





How is the German Election Tracker calculated?

The German Election Tracker compares the total amount of traffic generated by articles about each party.

The higher a party's score, the more interest the party and its candidates are attracting.

If all parties attract the same level of interest, they converge at 17%. Parties with scores above 17% are attracting above-average levels of interest.

The German Election Tracker is updated every hour, on the hour. All times are local times in your current timezone. Germany is one hour ahead of London, six hours ahead of New York and nine hours ahead of Los Angeles. Germany is two hours behind Moscow, three hours behind Dubai and seven hours behind Beijing.





Who can use the German Election Tracker?

Anyone is permitted to use the German Election Tracker for personal, commercial or academic purposes. All we ask for is that you mention Echobox with a link back to either the German Election Tracker or our main website and/or add our logo (dark, bright, transparent dark or transparent bright).

We believe that the German Election Tracker is particularly relevant to journalists and politicians themselves. It shows journalists how audiences are responding in real time to election-related content. If one candidate is generating a lot of traffic, this may justify giving more prominence to content related to the candidate on a publication's home page or social media. Persistent spikes may justify in-depth follow-up articles unpacking whatever dynamic drives high levels of engagement.

For political campaigns, the German Election Tracker offers a way to assess whether a candidate's message is generating traction within the electorate. The German Election Tracker shows clearly that Benoît Hamon has been attracting less interest than Emmanuel Macron, and that Jean-Luc Mélenchon has not generated many peaks in voter interest compared to Marine Le Pen. The German Election Tracker can also be used to compare the impact of a candidate's major speeches with those of other contenders. Finally, any candidate can compare the impact of major speeches on policy issues with those of other candidates.

We hope you will find this data as useful and fascinating as we do, and we hope that it will inspire passionate debate, thoughtful discussion and data-driven analysis. Let us know what you think here - and get in touch if you want to know more or if you are interested in other measures or indicators.





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