More than opinion expression : secondary effects of intraparty referendums on party members


Wuttke, Alexander ; Jungherr, Andreas ; Schoen, Harald


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068817745729
URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/43200
Additional URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1354068817...
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-432004
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2017
The title of a journal, publication series: Party Politics
Page range: 1-11
Place of publication: London
Publishing house: Sage Publications
ISSN: 1354-0688 ; 1460-3683
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Politische Wissenschaft, Politische Psychologie (Schoen 2014-)
Subject: 320 Political science
Keywords (English): intraparty democracy , panel survey , participation , party leaders , political efficacy
Abstract: As political parties expand opportunities for intraparty participation, understanding the effects of participatory events on party actors becomes ever more important. In this study, we investigate the consequences of an intraparty referendum in a state branch of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union on beliefs and attitudes of party members. We use longitudinal survey data bracketing a nonbinding issue referendum on the party’s stance on same-sex marriage. Our analysis shows that the referendum had secondary effects that went beyond the referendum’s primary goal of delivering an informal opinion poll to the party leadership. The experience of having a say in an important policy decision fostered members’ sense of party-specific efficacy. Furthermore, the referendum provided party members with information on elite positions and stimulated leadership evaluation based on issue congruency. Altogether, involvement in intraparty decision-making promotes beliefs and behaviors among the rank and file that are relevant to uphold a vivid and empowering party life.
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