Immigrant German Election Study

  • Spies, Dennis (Head coordinator)
  • Goerres, Achim (Head coordinator)
  • Mayer, Sabrina (Project manager)

Project: Research

Project Details


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 April 2020.

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 socialisation of citizens of migrant descent and autochthonous citizens 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 conducted 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 were used for the development of the questionnaire for the quantitative stage. Simultaneously with the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) post-election survey, interviews were 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 allowed us to conduct the first representative analysis of the determinants of vote choice for migrant voters in Germany.

For current updates and working paper drafts see also our Research Gate project.
Short titleIMGES
Effective start/end date01/10/201631/03/2020

Research Output

  • 2 Journal article

How Did Immigrant Voters Vote at the 2017 Bundestag Election? First Results from the Immigrant German Election Study (IMGES)

Goerres, A., Spies, D. & Mayer, S., 3. Feb 2018, In : SSRN Electronic Journal .

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleCommunication