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Campaign Participants and Interest Group Activists: Not So Strange Bedfellows
Unformatted Document Text:  21 groups, there is strikingly little spillover. To be sure, we find a high degree of continuity between 1994 and 1996 with respect to both partisan campaigning and involvement in interest groups. Yet the coefficients linking parties and groups over time are effectively zero. [Figure 2 about here] In contrast, individuals who reported having more friends and family in Democratic-leaning interest groups evidenced much greater spillover, and a slightly higher degree of continuity within each domain of participation. Social networks apparently play an important part in converting partisan politics to interest group activism, and vice versa. Conclusions Much of the literature on “spillover” between parties and interest groups has emphasized the role of non-political interest groups in fostering political participation While not denying the importance of groups in political participation, and especially in overcoming inequalities of race and gender, this paper argues for also considering the reciprocal relationship—that leading from group activity to interest group activity. It shows that with a four or even an eight year lag, campaign activity increases both the range of groups in which campaign activists are members, and the level of activity across groups. This is important in emphasizing the affirmative role that parties can play in helping to extend their coalitional basis by stimulating extended activity among their members. Equally important the emphasis here is on a social network mechanism rather than the skill acquisition, availability and political knowledge emphases that the civic voluntarism and other group to political activity models have emphasized. Friendship

Authors: Rapoport, Ronald. and McCann, James.
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21
groups, there is strikingly little spillover. To be sure, we find a high degree of continuity
between 1994 and 1996 with respect to both partisan campaigning and involvement in
interest groups. Yet the coefficients linking parties and groups over time are effectively
zero.
[Figure 2 about here]
In contrast, individuals who reported having more friends and family in
Democratic-leaning interest groups evidenced much greater spillover, and a slightly
higher degree of continuity within each domain of participation. Social networks
apparently play an important part in converting partisan politics to interest group
activism, and vice versa.
Conclusions

Much of the literature on “spillover” between parties and interest groups has
emphasized the role of non-political interest groups in fostering political participation
While not denying the importance of groups in political participation, and especially in
overcoming inequalities of race and gender, this paper argues for also considering the
reciprocal relationship—that leading from group activity to interest group activity. It
shows that with a four or even an eight year lag, campaign activity increases both the
range of groups in which campaign activists are members, and the level of activity across
groups. This is important in emphasizing the affirmative role that parties can play in
helping to extend their coalitional basis by stimulating extended activity among their
members.
Equally important the emphasis here is on a social network mechanism rather than
the skill acquisition, availability and political knowledge emphases that the civic
voluntarism and other group to political activity models have emphasized. Friendship


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