Election analysis: Scholz’s respect formula appealed to voters

Election narratives of the SPD candidate for chancellor with very high approval ratings among the population / Core statements in the CDU program significantly less popular / Analysis of a Civey survey commissioned by the Forum New Economy




29. SEPTEMBER 2021



Press release, September 29, 2021

Election narratives of the SPD candidate for chancellor with very high approval ratings among the population / Core statements in the CDU program significantly less popular / Analysis of a Civey survey commissioned by Forum New Economy.

SPD candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz apparently struck a stronger chord with the population than his competitors with his main messages in the election campaign. According to a survey conducted by pollster Civey on behalf of the Forum New Economy, 87 percent of respondents “tended to agree” or “strongly agreed” that there was a need for “more cohesion in our society” – and that this would only be possible “if we had respect for one another”. Almost 85 percent agreed with the Social Democrats’ statement that “protecting our livelihoods” requires technological and scientific progress as well as social progress. This puts both of Scholz’s messages at the top of a total of 30 narratives surveyed from the election programs of the six parties in the Bundestag.

The results suggest that there are also substantive reasons behind the renewed growth in support for the SPD in recent weeks, not just the mistakes of the competition. Around 2,500 people responded to the survey in recent weeks; the results reflect the state of play on election Sunday. The main purpose of the survey is to test the relevance of newer narratives using selected key phrases from the programs for the federal election.

It is striking that among the most popular ten quotes evaluated, none comes from the CDU program. According to the survey, the most popular of the selected CDU/CSU statements was the one according to which “participation takes precedence over redistribution” (71.4 percent); the formulation that “our children should inherit more opportunities instead of debts” was agreed with by a good 68 percent, either somewhat or completely.

According to the survey, the statement that all social and ecological promises “without a strong economic foundation” remain unaffordable dreams also received high approval (82.3 percent). Nearly 78 percent agreed rather or completely with the statement that there is a need for a state “that is strong because it acts lean and modern instead of complacent, old-fashioned and sluggish.” Both statements come from the FDP’s election platform.

The most popular ten narratives also include passages from the programs of the AfD (on “property protection, freedom of contract and competition” as “elementary components of a free and prosperous society”) and the Left Party (on the social contribution of “strong shoulders,” among other things). In tenth place was the formula from the Green Party program, according to which politics must now “invest in our common future.”

The survey is part of a project lasting several months, with which the Forum New Economy, in cooperation with the agency Scholz & Friends Agenda and the opinion research institute Civey, wants to sound out the approval and spread of previous and more recent economic policy and social narratives among the population. A basic statement from the election platform of each of the six parties on the image of society, the climate crisis, inequality, state debt and the understanding of the state was selected; the respondents could “tend to agree” or “clearly agree” or disagree with the statement.  A more detailed analysis of the results will follow at the end of October.

About Forum New Economy

The Forum is a non-partisan platform that has been seeking new answers and a new paradigm to solve the grand challenges of our time since October 2019. It supports innovative researchers and brings them together with practitioners and the public.

About Scholz&Friends Agenda

Scholz & Friends Agenda is an agenda setting and public relations agency based in Berlin and Brussels, specializing in socio-political communication.

About Civey

Founded in 2015, Civey is a technology company that today operates the largest panel for digital market and opinion data in Germany. At the interface between classical statistics and modern artificial intelligence, Civey analyzes representative data continuously and in real time.



For decades, there was a consensus that reducing the role of the state and cutting public debt would generate wealth. This contributed to a chronic underinvestment in education and public infrastructure. New research focuses on establishing when and how governments need to intervene to better contribute to long-term prosperity and to stabilize rather than aggravate economic fluctuations.