Comparative Politics

Political Depolarization in Germany

Jul 25 '13

Simon Munzerta and Paul Bauer have a new paper:

Public opinion polarization has decreased over the last three decades in Germany. In particular, highly educated and more politically interested people have become less polarized over time. However, polarization seems to have increased in attitudes regarding gender issues. These findings provide interesting contrasts to existing research on the American public.

Here’s what they do:

Public opinion polarization is conceptualized and measured as alignment of attitudes. Data from the German General Social Survey (1980 to 2010) comprise attitudes towards manifold issues, which are classified into several dimensions. This study estimates multilevel models that reveal general and issue- as well as dimension-specific levels and trends in attitude alignment for both the whole German population and sub-groups.

Their method follows what Delia and I did using the NES to study the well-known phenomenon of increasing political polarization in the U.S.

I don’t know much about polarization in different countries; the topic seems very much worth studying.