from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Forsa Society for Social Research and Statistical Analyzes mbH

legal form GmbH
founding 1984
Seat Berlin , Germany
management Manfred Güllner , Thorsten Thierhoff
Number of employees 80 (as of March 2018)
Branch service

The forsa. Society for social research and statistical analysis , short forsa , is - alongside the research group Wahlen , Emnid , Allensbach and infratest dimap - one of the leading market and opinion research institutes in Germany. The founder of the company is Manfred Güllner .

Around 80 employees (including around 40 scientists) work at Forsa. In comparison, GfK SE , the largest German market research company, employs around 1,600 permanent employees in Germany alone. Founded in 1984, forsa has its main branch in Berlin and further branches in Dortmund and Frankfurt am Main .


Forsa was founded in 1984 by Manfred Güllner . In January 2017 Thorsten Thierhoff became the new Managing Director of Forsa alongside Güllner.

Opinion research procedure

Telephone polls

At the moment, at least 1,000 representatively identified people are interviewed by telephone between 4.30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on working days. (In this time frame, the group of working people , which is very important for surveys, is mainly to be found). From the age of 14 you can voluntarily take part in the surveys, which mainly revolve around the areas of social research, election and political research, media, market and online research.

The main aim is to determine the mood of “the Germans”. The called phone numbers are determined randomly, i. H. the interviewer does not know with whom he will conduct the interview, all requested data will be anonymized. For statistical reasons, the interviews are only conducted with the person in the household whose last birthday was. This is to ensure that all age groups are included in these surveys and that men and women are interviewed to the same extent. The data is only evaluated according to statistical information.

Since the data should be determined objectively, the client of a survey is not named as long as the survey is running. Nevertheless, the individual business areas and the commissioning companies and institutions can be read from publications by the institutes (in some cases publications by associations such as the BVM or ESOMAR ).

Other survey methods

In addition to the telephone interviews ( CATI questionnaire), forsa uses other data collection and evaluation methods , especially the CAPI questionnaires (computer-supported personal questionnaires) in B-to-B research .

Online survey

In its online research, however, the institute relies on its own intra-network of panel participants, the forsa.omninet . The preparatory work for forsa.omninet began in 1999. In autumn 2000, a test panel with 100 households in Berlin was launched. In the course of 2001 a nationwide test panel with 1,000 households was set up. In 2015 the panel consisted of 30,000 representative households across Germany. Forsa, on the other hand, seems to be rather skeptical or negative about (inexpensive) online research via PC and Internet , probably because of the lack of representativeness.

In addition to opinion research, the service profile includes the supply areas: municipal and other public supply, basic industry, handicrafts, capital goods in general, transport, traffic, financial services, media, print, media, TV.

In March 2016 forsa took over the LINK Internet Panel Frankfurt from the Link Institute .


Controversies about the SPD proximity

Both forsa and the institute director Manfred Güllner , himself an SPD member, were accused of a certain proximity to the SPD in view of various election prognoses, most recently for the 2005 election in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Forsa Institute successfully obtained an interim injunction against allegations from the CDU, but the fact remains that on political issues, the respondents in some cases agreed more with positions close to the SPD than with other institutes. According to its own information, Forsa received contracts worth 40,000 euros for the federal elections in 2002 and for the state elections in NRW in 2005, otherwise none. On September 6, 2002, in an interview with ZEIT, the Mainz professor of journalism Hans Mathias Kepplinger named Infratest, Emnid and the Institute for Demoskopie Allensbach - and not forsa - as institutes that were not too biased due to their interests, although the head of the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, and her managing director Renate Köcher, a closeness to the Union cannot necessarily be denied. The fact that the Allensbach Institute cooperates with the University of Mainz (Noelle-Neumann was the director of the Institute for Journalism there) - thus also with journalism professor Kepplinger - points to the smooth transition between opinion research and opinion formation.

Forsa was accused of being close to the SPD in the past, but it was clearly put into perspective after the 2005 Bundestag elections and vice versa. In 2007 and even more so in the first quarter of 2008, Forsa determined survey values ​​for the SPD, which were on average around 5 percentage points below the figures of the other opinion research institutes. Therefore, recently accusations have been raised against Forsa, after the departure of Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder , who is considered a friend of the institute director Manfred Güllner, to demoscopy against the SPD and an established departure from the "reform course".

An example of this is a Forsa study from the summer of 2008. It came to the result that 36% of SPD members had considered leaving the party. The SPD leader at the time, Kurt Beck , massively criticized Güllner and announced that he did not comment on surveys by the Forsa Institute. A report by the ARD capital studio on a survey on the 2013 federal election put the Forsa result in perspective in January 2013: “In general, however, in the eyes of many industry insiders: Forsa surveys should be treated with extreme caution. Very often they are far from what most other polling institutes measure. "

In December 2019, Forsa came under fire again for a survey about the SPD. The institute was accused by the blog Übermedien , for example , of using the type of question to steer the result of a survey in the direction desired by Forsa boss Manfred Güllner. The reason was the election of the new party chairmen of the SPD Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans , whereupon Forsa Bürger asked whether the SPD can gain new trust from the voters with an “ideological left-wing” or a “pragmatic-rational middle course” . Observers rated this choice of words as manipulative. Forsa replied that although this survey was carried out this way, it was only a “pre-test to check the methodology”. It should be noted that a "Sunday question" from Forsa saw the SPD, shortly after the election of the new chairman, only 11 percent and thus three percent worse than in the previous week. Other institutes, however, saw no changes or even slight gains for the SPD.

Further allegations of manipulative issues

In 2003 the accusation was raised that Forsa had manipulated a survey on the subject of tuition fees, which had been carried out on behalf of the Center for University Development (CHE), which is closely related to the Bertelsmann Foundation . The results said: "The majority of students (59%) and the majority of the population (67%) said in November 2003 that they would support tuition fees if they benefit the universities directly and can be financed through loans." These results were published in a press release by CHE in December 2003 and adopted by some newspapers. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the CHE later indirectly admitted that the respondents could actually only choose between different models of tuition fees, but not entirely against them.

In 2007 Forsa carried out a survey on behalf of Deutsche Bahn AG. The question was asked about the advantages of rail privatization, but not about the disadvantages. The survey results were published the day before a hearing in the Bundestag. Lobby Control accuses Forsa of having created the impression that privatization is wanted by the population, even if this is not the result of the survey. The German Council for Public Relations described the questions as manipulative.

In 2015, allegations against Forsa came predominantly via the microblogging service Twitter , as in a Stern article, according to a Forsa survey, 75 percent of supporters of the Greens would support the policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Greece . When asked for the exact wording of the question that had led to this result, it was said that the decision had to be made “whether Merkel behaved correctly with the aid program against strict conditions or whether she wanted Greece to exit should have forced the euro ”. This caused satirical protests on Twitter under the keyword #forsafragen, under which the question was compared with statements such as “Is Merkel doing a good job or should this cute kitten die?”.

Web links


  1. a b Thorsten Thierhoff becomes managing director at forsa , new business. Retrieved March 16, 2017
  2. about forsa , Retrieved March 30, 2018
  3. ^ Forsa boss Güllner: Surveys are never exact , Hessische / Niedersächsische Allgemeine. Retrieved March 16, 2017
  4. Innovation in market and social research: das forsa.omninet-Panal , Sozialwissenschaften und Berufspraxis 27 (2004), page 17. Accessed on March 30, 2018
  5. Methodology and sample of the Public Value Atlas 2015 , Center for Leadership and Values ​​in Society of the University of St.Gallen. Retrieved March 30, 2018
  6. LINK's survey division goes to forsa , planung & analyze. Retrieved October 18, 2016
  7. SPD accuses opinion researchers of making opinion. In: Tagesspiegel . March 28, 2008, accessed June 16, 2015 .
  8. ^ Opinion researcher Güllner on the SPD crisis "Beck must go". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . July 6, 2008, accessed June 16, 2015 .
  9. running the gauntlet on one's own account ( memento from January 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), January 16, 2013
  10. What is true of the allegations against Forsa on
  11. Forsa raises the mood against the SPD's “left- wing course” with a dubious survey on
  12. Results of the research questionnaire on the client's homepage, Center for University Development (PDF; 48 kB)
  13. Supposedly majority of students for fees. In: Spiegel Online . December 11, 2003, accessed June 16, 2015 .
  14. Torsten Harmsen: The majority of students are for tuition fees. In: Berliner Zeitung . December 19, 2003, accessed June 16, 2015 .
  15. Criticism of survey on tuition fees. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. December 19, 2003, accessed June 16, 2015 .
  16. Beyond the Public Interest; The hidden influence of Deutsche Bahn for the privatization of the railways and against the GDL strike . June 9, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  17. ^ Hidden PR of the Deutsche Bahn
  18. "Is Merkel doing a good job or should this cute kitten die?" In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. July 15, 2015, accessed July 16, 2015 .