Talk in the Park

Voting Behavior and Changing Values Within Society

Opinion Researcher Renate Köcher Visits the Robert Bosch Haus

How do Germans react to the Euro crisis, the energy revolution, and demographic change? Do you understand these complicated issues? Do you believe that your decision at the voting booth can have an impact, or are you increasingly turning your back on politics? These were the key questions which Professor Renate Köcher addressed on December 10, 2012, during the Talk in the Park at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The title of her talk was "The Overwhelmed Electorate - Are Citizens Giving Up Due to the Complexity of the Problems?"

Renate Köcher has had her finger on the pulse of opinions in Germany for over 35 years. As director of the renowned Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (Allensbach Institute), the economist not only studies the predilection of Germans for certain products and media, but also society’s voting behavior and changing values.

Köcher used the European sovereign debt and financial crisis as an example of how overwhelmed German citizens are by the complexity of the issue: three-quarters of the population neither understand the cause of the crisis, nor the suggested recovery measures. As a result, more than half of all citizens have given up on it. Surveys show that they no longer really follow the issue, because they do not believe they have any influence on it anyway. Yet these sobering figures stand in contrast to survey results that paint an optimistic picture. Despite the crisis, for example, a majority of Germans still believe in the European Union and barely question Germany’s role as largest net contributor in the EU - which is particularly surprising, considering that the citizens surveyed never believed the statement that Greece would pay back its debts.

(December 2012)

Picture Gallery

Professor Renate Köcher, director of the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach (Allensbach Institute)
Renate Köcher and Kurt W. Liedtke, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation
Renate Köcher, Kurt W. Liedtke, and Ingrid Hamm, Executive Director of the Foundation
Ingrid Hamm (center) talking to former Minister President Erwin Teufel (right) and lawyer Gerhard Wirth
Erwin Teufel (right) and Wolfgang Chur, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation
Erwin Teufel (right), Walter Sigle (center), and Wolfram Freudenberg
Werner Struth (right), Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, and Stefan Schott, Head of the Communication Department of the Foundation
The title of Renate Köcher's talk was "The Overwhelmed Electorate - Are Citizens Giving Up Due to the Complexity of the Problems?"
Guests at the Robert Bosch Haus
Renate Köcher and Erwin Teufel
Franz Fehrenbach (left), Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Robert Bosch GmbH, Mark Dominik Alscher, Robert Bosch Hospital, Renate Köcher, and Wolfgang Chur
Lively discussions at dinner
Lively discussions at dinner