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Campaign Participants and Interest Group Activists: Not So Strange Bedfellows
Unformatted Document Text:  15 Findings Table 1 shows the distribution of our sample of Democratic caucus participants in terms of both interest group involvement and campaign activity. In 1984 almost two- thirds of Democratic caucus participants reported membership in one or more “Democratic coalition groups,” and about half of these were members in two or more groups. 7 A similar percentage (31.2%) reported being active members or leaders of at least one group. When we turn to general election campaign activity, it is not surprising, given our population, that activity levels are even higher. More than three-quarters of respondents reported Democratic campaign activity in the general election campaigns at some level in 1984, and the mean is close to three activities. Nonetheless a quarter did nothing for a Democrat at any level in the general election campaign. [Table 1 about here] In the sample as a whole, levels of group involvement stayed quite consistent between 1984 and 1988, with active participation declining slightly and the number of group memberships increasing slightly; campaign activity somewhat declines. With respect to our spillover hypotheses, our theory is agnostic regarding the marginal change. The political and interest group context changes from year to year, and the opportunities and concerns that are available one year may be very different four years later. The similarity in results however is reassuring that we are not examining years that are radically different. As we have discussed above, one of the real strengths of our data is our ability to use lagged dependent variables in our regression equations. Because the lag we are using is four years (the time between presidential elections), any findings that campaign 7 On the other hand, fewer than one in six Democrats are members of Republican coalition groups, including business groups.

Authors: Rapoport, Ronald. and McCann, James.
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15
Findings
Table 1 shows the distribution of our sample of Democratic caucus participants in
terms of both interest group involvement and campaign activity. In 1984 almost two-
thirds of Democratic caucus participants reported membership in one or more
“Democratic coalition groups,” and about half of these were members in two or more
groups.
7
A similar percentage (31.2%) reported being active members or leaders of at
least one group. When we turn to general election campaign activity, it is not surprising,
given our population, that activity levels are even higher. More than three-quarters of
respondents reported Democratic campaign activity in the general election campaigns at
some level in 1984, and the mean is close to three activities. Nonetheless a quarter did
nothing for a Democrat at any level in the general election campaign.
[Table 1 about here]
In the sample as a whole, levels of group involvement stayed quite consistent
between 1984 and 1988, with active participation declining slightly and the number of
group memberships increasing slightly; campaign activity somewhat declines. With
respect to our spillover hypotheses, our theory is agnostic regarding the marginal change.
The political and interest group context changes from year to year, and the opportunities
and concerns that are available one year may be very different four years later. The
similarity in results however is reassuring that we are not examining years that are
radically different.
As we have discussed above, one of the real strengths of our data is our ability to
use lagged dependent variables in our regression equations. Because the lag we are using
is four years (the time between presidential elections), any findings that campaign
7
On the other hand, fewer than one in six Democrats are members of Republican coalition groups,
including business groups.


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