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Campaign Participants and Interest Group Activists: Not So Strange Bedfellows
Unformatted Document Text:  8 Why this should be the case is not mysterious. Involvement in political campaigns brings one into contact with other politically involved individuals and, given the relationship between groups and parties in the United States it is likely that many of those campaign activists are involved in groups comprising the party’s coalition. Given the commonality of attitudes and partisanship among co-partisans, we suggest the potential for personal attraction is substantial. One mechanism for such spillover, which we identify in this paper, is, therefore, the friendship group. By being exposed to co- partisans during the politicized atmosphere of a national campaign, one is also being exposed to members and activists of groups comprising the party’s coalition. The result of this exposure, we suggest, is an increase in the likelihood of involvement by our respondents with the groups represented in the coalition, stimulated in part through friendship with these individuals, and the availability of information about such groups. Note that we are not demanding that our respondents engage in high levels of activity in campaigns. Even the willingness to discuss the campaign and express one’s support for one’s candidate will have the effect of exposing that person to others with the same strength of support, and these individuals will often have memberships or involvement with party coalitional groups which will become evident during political discussion. We will examine how this particular mechanism mediates the relationship between campaigns and groups as directly as possible. The other important mechanism which we cannot examine is the recruitment and contact that might derive from campaign activity. Just as those involved in groups might be prime candidates for campaign and party mobilization (Rosenstone and Hansen, 1993; Verba, Schlozman and Brady, 1995; Schier, 2000), so too might campaign activists become prospects for mobilization into affiliated group activity. This is enhanced by an

Authors: Rapoport, Ronald. and McCann, James.
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8
Why this should be the case is not mysterious. Involvement in political
campaigns brings one into contact with other politically involved individuals and, given
the relationship between groups and parties in the United States it is likely that many of
those campaign activists are involved in groups comprising the party’s coalition. Given
the commonality of attitudes and partisanship among co-partisans, we suggest the
potential for personal attraction is substantial. One mechanism for such spillover, which
we identify in this paper, is, therefore, the friendship group. By being exposed to co-
partisans during the politicized atmosphere of a national campaign, one is also being
exposed to members and activists of groups comprising the party’s coalition. The result
of this exposure, we suggest, is an increase in the likelihood of involvement by our
respondents with the groups represented in the coalition, stimulated in part through
friendship with these individuals, and the availability of information about such groups.
Note that we are not demanding that our respondents engage in high levels of
activity in campaigns. Even the willingness to discuss the campaign and express one’s
support for one’s candidate will have the effect of exposing that person to others with the
same strength of support, and these individuals will often have memberships or
involvement with party coalitional groups which will become evident during political
discussion. We will examine how this particular mechanism mediates the relationship
between campaigns and groups as directly as possible.
The other important mechanism which we cannot examine is the recruitment and
contact that might derive from campaign activity. Just as those involved in groups might
be prime candidates for campaign and party mobilization (Rosenstone and Hansen, 1993;
Verba, Schlozman and Brady, 1995; Schier, 2000), so too might campaign activists
become prospects for mobilization into affiliated group activity. This is enhanced by an


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