Party list election results by state: red denotes states where the SPD had the absolute majority of the votes; pink denotes states where the SPD had the plurality of votes; darker blue denotes states where CDU/CSU had the absolute majority of the votes; and lighter blue denotes states where CDU had the plurality of votes
The coalition of SPD and FDP wanted to be re-elected, with the SPD, since 1974 led by Helmut Schmidt—the party's candidate for Chancellor. CDU and CSU tried to achieve an absolute majority of the votes to make CDU chairman Helmut Kohl Chancellor.
The coalition between the SPD and the FDP remained in government, with Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor. Between the "sister parties" of CDU and Bavarian CSU there emerged a critical conflict, as the CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß wanted to break both the united Bundestag group of the parties and the agreement not to compete against each other in any Land. Later, this attack was withdrawn, while Strauß became candidate for chancellor for the 1980 elections.