English title: Party Members vs. Party Sympathizers in a Period of Declining Membership: Who Does What (and with Whom)?
Author(s): Aldo F. Ponce - Susan E. Scarrow -
Type: Report, working paper
This paper investigates how political parties are coping with declining membership, asking how parties with low memberships provide substitutes for the resources that party members once provided. Possible substitution strategies include increasing the contributions provided by the members who remain, and increasing the activism of non-members supporters. In this paper we use responses from the 2002 and 2010 European Social Survey to assess changes in partisan mobilization of both types of party supporters. As expected, we find that party members are much more likely to be party workers than non-member supporters, but because of the difference in group sizes, non-members seem to be a significant source of party resources in many countries. We examine the traits associated with activism by members and non-members, and find that non-members tend to differ in politically significant ways, with non-member activists being (on average) less ideological and less wealthy. Because of such differences, there is a potential political significance to party decisions about which supporters to mobilize for election campaigns and other party work.
Institution: University of Houston
Number of pages: 33