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  • 1. Trends in Party Membership and Membership Participation: Smaller Parties, Different Types of Members? Susan E. Scarrow Department of Political Science University of Houston Houston, TX 77204-3011 Burcu Gezgor Department of Political Science University of Houston Houston, TX 77204-3011Abstract: In Europe and elsewhere, party memberships have waned since their peaks inthe 1960s and 1970s, yet at the same time, many parties have given their members newpowers to influence the political process by selecting candidates, leaders and partypolicies. This increase in the power of party members makes it important to re-examinewho joins political parties, and to ask whether previously noted patterns of demographicand political disparity have been exacerbated by the decrease in membership. To answerthis question, this paper examines compares recent survey data on members of Europeanparties with similar data from the late 1980s. It finds evidence of a continued aging ofparty memberships, but no other signs of a growing disconnect between those whochoose to join political parties and other party supporters.Paper presented for the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meetings, ChicagoApril 20-23, 2006.
  • 2. Trends in Party Membership and Membership Participation:Smaller Parties, Different Types of Members?Party memberships seems anachronistic in a world where mass parties are supposedlybeing superseded by cartel parties, modern cadre parties, and/or electoral professionalparties. The expression of commitment implied by enrolling in a party appears outdatedin a world where the public is growing more suspicious of those who govern, parties areincreasingly unloved, and citizens are less likely to turnout to vote for those they dosupport (Dalton and Weldon 2005, Dalton 2005). And indeed, in Europe and elsewhere,party memberships have waned since their peaks in the 1960s and 1970s. As bothconsequence and cause of these changes, many parties have turned to mass media to rallysupporters, and to opinion polls to stay in touch with the grass roots. Yes despite thesechanges, parties’ members continue to play important if less visible roles, helping tomobilize voters during elections, serving as candidates for all levels of elections, and,increasingly, choosing party policies, candidates, and leaders.This obverse change in the power and the size of party memberships makes it importantto re-examine the question of who joins political parties, and to ask whether previouslynoted patterns of demographic and political disparity have been exacerbated by thedecrease in membership. When joining a party becomes a highly unusual activity, doparty memberships become less representative of parties’ other supporters? This paperanswers this question by examining the changing faces of party membership in 23European democracies. It compares survey data over time to see whether the decliningpopularity of party membership has altered the types of people who join and are activewithin parties. It also compares trends in established and new democracies, asking 2
  • 3. whether membership patterns in the newer democracies of Central Europe replicate thosein the more established parties of western Europe.The Changing Face of Membership PartiesSince the end of the 19th century, some political parties have made the formal enrollmentof supporters one key focus of their organizational strategies and mobilization efforts.This organizational technique originated in parties of the left, but its apparent success ledother parties to adopt their own campaigns of membership recruitment. By the middle ofthe twentieth century, the hey-day of membership parties, it was not uncommon forparties in European democracies to claim enrollments in excess of 10% of the party vote.Since then, however, party memberships in the established democracies have tended toshrink in both absolute and relative terms. Today, few democratic parties can claimmembership over 5% of their electorate, and many are much smaller than this (see Table1).Despite this decline in the relative size of parties’ membership organizations, membersmay be more important than ever to their parties, and to the political process. In recentyears, parties around the world have transferred important new powers to individualmembers. This change has come about in part as a response to the drop in enrollments,and in part as a response to apparently growing public discontent with out-of-touchparties and political leaders. As a result, many parties have re-written their constitutionsto give members a greater direct role in selecting party candidates, party leaders, andeven party policies (Pennings and Hazan 2001; Scarrow et al 2000, etc.). For instance, 3
  • 4. within the past twelve months in the United Kingdom members of the Conservative andLiberal Democrat parties have selected new party leaders in contests that very muchresembled general elections, complete with broadcast debates between the leadingcandidates. Similarly, Romano Prodi, the presumed new prime minister in Italy,cemented his claim to lead his party by securing the nomination in a newly-institutedparty primary. As this suggests, where members’ rights have expanded in this way,party members have become more important than ever, not just to their own parties, butto the wider polity, because the decisions of this small group now directly shape politicalcompetition and political careers.Party members’ new political rights potentially magnify the importance of differencesbetween party members and other party supporters. If their political ideology and/or theirlife situations lead them to have priorities that are clearly different than the party’spotential voters, members will be more likely to endorse candidates and policies whichare unreflective of the preferences of the wider electorate. In some cases, this divergencemay provide an opening for new parties. In cases where it is difficult for new parties tocompete, it may increase citizens’ feelings of being unrepresented by the choices they areoffered at the polls.Patterns of party enrollment may affect the quality of democracy in other ways as well.In many countries parties have long been vehicles for political mobilization andactivation which help to funnel citizens into the broader spectrum of politicalengagement. Party membership has been a gateway activity, with those who join parties 4
  • 5. (or other groups) also more likely to participate in other political activities, be it talkingwith elected officials, signing petitions, or standing for office themselves (Perry, Moyser,Day 1992). In other words, parties have served as incubators of political engagement.This is an important role in new democracies, but it is also important in more establishedones, where citizens are seemingly grown more wary of traditional political institutionsand processes. Moreover, in many countries some parties, particularly parties of the left,have played a crucial role in compensating for resource-linked inequalities inparticipation. Such parties have enrolled working class members who had lower incomesand less education than those who otherwise became actively engaged in politics, thusensuring greater representation for the interests of those who were economically lessfortunate (Verba, Nie, Kim 1978). But parties of the left may not be performing thisfunction anymore if enrollment patterns have changed as these parties have broadenedtheir message, and their support, to appeal to a more white-collar base. Since group tiesand participatory skills acquired in one arena may encourage individuals to be moreactive elsewhere (Perry. Moyser, Day 1992), any such change within the parties mightlead to greater inequalities across the political arena. Thus, a second question to beasked: are at least some parties still mobilizing those with relatively lower resources whomight otherwise be less politically involved?Survey research over past three decades has taught us a great deal about thecharacteristics and views of those who join political parties. A growing number ofsurveys of members of individual parties have explored the motivations for participation,and the trajectories of involvement within each party (Germany: Falke 1982; Becker and 5
  • 6. Hombach 1983; Heinrich et al 2002; UK: Seyd and Whiteley 1992; Whiteley, Seyd andRichardson 1994; Seyd and Whiteley 2004; Rüdig, Bennie and Franklin 1991; Norway:Heidar and Saglie 2003; Canada: Cross and Young 2004; Denmark: Pedersen 2004;Ireland: Gallagher and Marsh 2004; Netherlands: van Holsteyn 2001). National electionstudies and cross-national surveys also have helped to draw more nuanced pictures of thedifferences between those who merely support a party, and those who chose to join it(especially Widfeldt 1995). This paper seeks to update these pictures by drawing ontwenty-first century cross-national surveys, asking whether recent drops in partymembership have reversed or perhaps intensified earlier patterns of participatoryinequality. The surveys, the European Social Survey (ESS) from 2002/03 and 2004/05,provide a picture of party membership in 17 democracies in Western Europe and 6 newerCentral European democracies at the beginning of the twenty-first century. To provide alarger sample of party members, the results of the two surveys are pooled for eachcountry.i The first part of the analysis will look for changes in the ways that partymembers differ from other supporters in terms of demographic characteristics, politicalattitudes and activities. The second part will ask whether there are particular patterns ofchanges visible in the countries where party membership has declined the most in the1990s. Finally, the study will compare patterns of party participation in new and moreestablished democracies, asking whether the newer parties have replicated patterns ofpolitical participation found elsewhere.Membership Numbers in FluxOur picture of the state of party enrollments became much clearer during the last third of 6
  • 7. the twentieth century, as an increasing number of parties centralized their record keepingand imposed more precise definitions of membership. In the same period, nationalelection and other surveys began to ask respondents about their party membership.Between the two types of sources, we have a relatively accurate picture of partymembership fluctuations in many countries. As Table 1 shows, the parties’ enrollmentdata and survey responses present remarkably similar portraits of party membershiplevels and membership trends. For instance, there is very little difference betweenWidfeldt’s survey data from the late 1980s and Katz & Mair’s party record data from thesame period. Of the 10 countries included in both sets, all but 3 show survey and partyestimates of membership enrollments as a proportion of the electorate that are within 2percentage points of each other. Similarly, in the 18 countries which are included in theESS from 2002 and in the Mair/Van Biezen party data from the late 1990s, all but 3countries share estimates of overall enrollment that are within 2 percentage points.Moreover, in the six cases where the estimates diverge, they do so in various ways.Because we know that voter turnout is systematically over-reported in surveys, we mightexpect that there would be a similar effect with self-reported party membership, but infact, where the two types of estimates differ, the surveys show the higher levels ofenrollment in only three of the six cases. This suggests that surveys are notsystematically biased, and the similarity of the figures in most cases suggests that theyare not bad instruments for estimating overall membership.In terms of trends in party membership, both types of data are in broad agreement as well.The survey data show bigger drops, with 7 out of 15 countries showing declines of more 7
  • 8. than 3 percentage points over the last decade of the twentieth century (compared withonly 3 of the 10 countries in the parties’ own figures). But in both types of data almostall the other countries show small declines (2 percentage points or less). Only twocountries, Ireland and Spain, showed a slight increase according to one of the indicators(polling data). In short, the picture painted by both types of data is of political partieswith a modest and declining ability to enroll their supporters. If party membership isbecoming less popular among the general electorate, who are the people who choose todo such an untrendy thing as to join a political party, and how much do these individualsdiffer from their fellow citizens?Changing Patterns of Participation within Political Parties?Demographic CharacteristicsPolitical party memberships probably have never been a good mirror of the population, oreven of a particular party’s support base. We know from past studies that patterns ofparty membership have closely resembled patterns of participation in other high intensitypolitical activities (Verba, Nie, Kim 1978; Parry et al 1992; Widfeldt 1995; and surveysof individual parties, cited above). In other words, those who join parties tend to beabove the population average in terms of income, age, and education. They are also morelikely to be male than female, and more likely to be middle class than working class.These patterns have held across a wide range of countries, and across most types ofparties, with only a few exceptions (mentioned below as appropriate). Have thesedisparities either diminished, or been exacerbated, as memberships have shrunk? We canuse data from the ESS to track possible changes in party members’ demographic 8
  • 9. characteristics as well as in their attitudes and activities. (Because of some pendingcoding questions, this analysis does not yet include an examination of parties’ classcomposition.)Age Party members have long tended to be somewhat older than the average population,but this disparity may be gaining increasing political significance in a era where issueslike pension reform could have the potential to divide electorates along generationallines. If all parties within a country have memberships (candidate selectorates) that aremuch older than the general population, parties as a group may fail to offer voters choiceswhich reflect the interests of younger citizens. Given the importance of pension issues,one way to measure age disparities is to look at the proportion of the general populationwhich is 61 or older, and compare this with the proportion of party members in this sameage group. By this measure, in most countries party members are older than theelectorate as a whole (positive difference score), and in some countries much older, withGreat Britain topping the list with a 31 percentage point difference between the twogroups (see Table 2). As Widfeldt and others found in the past, this pattern seems to beintensifying in many parties, with 11 out of the 15 countries which were in both sets ofsurveys showing a relative aging of the party membership (judged as an increase of atleast 2 points in age disparities between members and the general population).Five countries did buck this general trend, having a smaller percentage of older membersthan the general population (negative difference score). As Widfeldt found using hisslightly different measure of party age, most of the countries with memberships that were 9
  • 10. noticeably younger than the general population were newer democracies, where mostparties could not have recruited today’s seniors in their youth (Spain, Portugal, Polandand Slovakia). However, these differences were diminishing in Greece and Portugal.Furthermore, it was certainly not true that all of the newer democracies had youngermemberships. In this respect, Poland and Slovakia were not typical of the other CentralEuropean newer democracies in the surveys (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary,Slovenia). In these countries, the older memberships probably are due at least in part tothe continued loyalty of members recruited by the Communists in pre-democraticperiods.Gender Past studies of participation in political parties have consistently found partymemberships to be disproportionately male, with only a very few exceptions (such as theConservative Party of Great Britain in the 1980s and early 1990s) (Widfeldt 1995;Whitleley et al 1994). This pattern of gender disparity did not disappear in the twentyfirst century: in all the countries studied in the ESS, men remain more likely than womento enroll in political parties (see Table 3). That said, there are some signs that this gapmay be closing, with 9 of the 15 countries included in the ESS and in the EB datashowing a drop in the difference between the proportion of women in the electorate andwomen in political parties, while only 5 countries showed an increase in this difference.Three Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Finland and Norway) had the lowest genderdisparity, something that is perhaps not surprising given the priority these countries havegiven to electing female representatives. France was also in this group, possibly areflection of the new legal pressure on French parties to nominate female candidates 10
  • 11. (Freedman 2004). The data show no striking patterns when gender composition isfurther broken down by party, though it is notable that by the beginning of the twenty-first century the anomalistic over-representation of women in the British ConservativeParty had largely disappeared as this party’s membership declined.Education Education has often been seen as a resource which fuels political participation(Verba, Nie, Kim 1978). In keeping with this, Widfeldt found small but uniformdifferences between members and supporters, with members generally being slightlymore educated than other supporters. Only in Scandinavia was this pattern reversed, withparty members having on average less education than the general electorate. More than adecade later, the ESS figures show similar patterns, though with some weakening of thepattern (Table 4). Scandinavia remained the exception to the overall rule: in Denmark,Finland, Norway, and Sweden party members had, on average, fewer years of schoolingthan the general population, and in Norway there was no difference between the twogroups in terms of educational levels. In addition, France and Ireland showed the“Scandinavian” pattern of members having slightly less education on average than thegeneral population, and Luxembourg showed the two groups with equal averageeducation. In these countries, mobilizing by parties may indeed help to overcome someof the resource-based disparities in political participation. In the other 16 countries, partymembers were the more educated, though, as Widfeldt also found, in an era of highoverall education levels, these differences are generally small: only in 8 of these countrieswas the average difference more than a year’s worth of schooling. It was not possible tocompare changes over time because of differences in the measure in the two surveys. 11
  • 12. AttitudesWe are interested in the demography of party membership, and how this differs from thelarger community, in part because we see demography as an easily observed proxy foridentifying interests and potential conflicts of interests: if party members come from verydifferent backgrounds than the voters the parties hope to recruit, the members maypromote party platforms and candidates that don’t reflect the interests of the broaderelectorate. But surveys provide us with much more direct indicators that could alert us tothe degree of such attitudinal divergence. The most basic of these is the respondent’sself-placement on a left/right scale: do party members and party supporters differsystematically in terms of their ideological intensity?There is some reason to think that party members will be more extreme in their politicalconvictions than those who make a lesser commitment to their party. This suspicion,codified as “May’s Law”, is based on the assumption that most party members aremotivated by collective political goods, not selective benefits: they assume the costs ofmembership because of their ideological commitments (May 1973). This would makethem systematically more radical in their views than those who remain “mere” partysupporters, but also than those who are motivated by the selective benefits of officeholding. Although this is a plausible theory, the supporting evidence remains rather thin.Most studies have found at most small differences between the views of party supportersand party activists, and have found that party officeholders tend to be more extreme thaneither group, showing little evidence of curvilinearity in the dispersion of attitudes 12
  • 13. (Norris 1994; Narud and Skare 1999; Gallagher and Marsh 2002: Miller 1988; Herreraand Taylor 1994). To the extent that curvilinearity has been found, it has been confinedto certain ideologically charged issues, in certain types of (ideological) parties (Kitschelt1989, Narud and Skare 1999).Widfeldt’s data told a similar story. He looked at differences between party membersand party supporters in their self-placement on an 11 point left-right scale (left = 0, right= 10). In almost all of the 39 parties he examines, the gap exists and is in the expecteddirection. In the other 5 parties, members and supporters place themselves in identicalpositions. In no case were members more moderate than party supporters. But asWidfeldt emphasizes, for the most part these differences are slight: in no case was thedifference as great as a whole point on a ten-point scale, and often the sum of differencesbetween members and supporters in left and right parties did not increase overall politicalpolarization by even a whole point. For Widfeldt, the small size of the differencecautioned against over-emphasizing the disconnect between party members and otherparty supporters. How, if at all, have these relationships changed in recent years? Is thedifference still as small as when Widfeldt wrote, or has the decrease in party membershiptended to exacerbate the ideological differences between those who are willing to join aparty, and other party supporters?Table 5 replicates Widfeldt’s analysis with ESS data, though looking only at parties withat least 40 members. The picture it presents is one of striking stability. In almost all theparties, party members are more ideological than party supporters, but these differences 13
  • 14. are generally small (always less than one point).1 Moreover, to the extent that thesefigures can be compared with Widfeldt’s data, there is no systematic pattern of change.Between the end of the 1980s and the start of the twenty-first century, the gap betweenmembers and supporters in terms of left-right self-placement stayed the same, grew, orshrunk in exactly the same number of cases (5 each). In none of the countries for whichthere is relevant data was the gap between members and supporters moving in the samedirection for two or more parties.This message of ideological stability is good news in light of the expanding role of partymembers in party decision-making. The appeal of party membership may be declining,but parties do not seem to be more reliant on ideological firebrands than used to be thecase. In general, party members are no more extreme than they were. The growth ofintra-party democracy and the spreading use of party primaries may not inevitablyproduce candidate slates that are increasingly unreflective of the wishes of the broaderelectorate.ActivitiesAre the shrinking parties made up of more politically active members? In other words, insocieties where party membership may have lost some of its broad appeal as a socialoutlet or an affirmation of identity, are those who do join noticeably more engaged thanothers? The ESS data allow us to compare the levels of political engagement of partymembers with those of the population as a whole. ESS respondents were asked whether1 One possible exception to this was the Swiss People’s Party, for which supporters were slightly further tothe right than party members. But this party has been classified as a “rural” party rather than a conservativeparty, so attitudes within the party may not be well-described by a left-right scale (Lane and Ersson 1987). 14
  • 15. they had participated in 7 types of political activities in the last 12 months, ranging fromcontacting a politician to engaging in a boycott or illegal protest. One of the activities,“working in a political party”, seems likely to be correlated with party membership, buttheoretically it is certainly not identical: we know from other studies of party membersthat it is only a minority of party members who are active within their parties, and evennon members may work in political parties, particularly during election campaigns.(And in fact, correlation between the two is only 0.43.) We used these responses tocreate an index of political activity, ranging from zero for those who participated in noneof the activities, to seven for those who participated in all of them. We then comparedaverage activity levels among party members and the general population.The first thing that stands out in Table 6 are the low activity averages for the generalpopulation: only in half of the countries was the average higher than 1. Second, asexpected, party members are more active than others, in most cases reporting scores thatwere more than twice as high as those of the rest of the population. What is unclear fromthese figures is whether the experience of party membership gives members confidenceand opportunities that encourage them to get more politically active, or whether thosewho are more politically engaged to begin with are those who (also) chose to join apolitical party. Since Widfeldt’s data do not provide a baseline for this, we can’tmeasure change over time on this dimension. What we can say from this is that partymembers are still distinguished from fellow citizens by their higher levels of politicalengagement: party membership remains an important outlet for the most politically activecitizens. 15
  • 16. Parties with Biggest Membership DropsSo far we have looked for patterns across the entire range of countries and parties forwhich data were available in the Eurobarometer and ESS studies, and for the most part nostrong patterns of change have emerged. What if we look only at the 7 countries forwhich the survey data showed the largest drop in overall party enrollments? To assessthis, we look at changing patterns of enrollment in countries which all registered adecline of 2 points or more in the percentage of self-reported party members (Finland,Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Norway and Sweden). Do stronger patterns ofchange emerge where the membership decline has been steepest, and where we mightsuspect that parties have shed some of their more “casual” and “social” members whilekeeping those who have more strongly political motives? The results for these countriesfrom earlier tables are summarized in Table 7. Demographic changes do not stand outmore strongly here than in countries where party membership has been more stable. Interms of age, the seven countries with the biggest membership decline ranged across thespectrum in regards to the change in the relative proportion of older party members. Inregards to gender, there was no difference between the countries with greater and lessermembership declines: 4 of the 7 (57%) parties with the biggest drop in membershipenrollment showed a decreasing difference between female enrollment and the proportionof the population that is female, slightly less widespread than the 5 out of 8 (63%)countries in the other group that showed this decrease. In terms of left-right selfplacement, the message is even stronger: in the countries with the largest membershipdeclines, none of the parties showed an increase in distance between party members and 16
  • 17. party supporters (see Table 5). In terms of education, the seven countries with thegreatest membership drops were dispersed across the spectrum of educational disparities.Parties in New DemocraciesThe ESS data also allow us to observe the development of party membership in the newerdemocracies of Southern and East/Central Europe, and to ask whether they conform topatterns of participation previously observed in more established political parties. Asreflected in the figures in Table 1, some parties in the new democracies of East/CentralEurope have adopted the organizational strategy of enrolling supporters as partymembers, with the result that overall membership levels in the new members of theEuropean Union are not that much different than those in Western Europe. Nevertheless,joining a party is not a particularly popular activity in any of these countries, and unlikesome of their Western European counterparts, the parties of Central Europe generallyhave not evolved out of pre-existing movements which could provide a continuingfoundation of societal support for the parties, and of social ties for prospective members(van Biezen 2005). These factors might be expected to translate into some differences inthe types of people who enroll.Since most of the parties in these countries were founded after the establishment ofdemocracy, we might expect that party members would be younger than theircounterparts in the west. Indeed, the most visible demographic difference betweenmembers in the established and new democracy is one of age: almost all of the newerdemocracies are at the low end in terms of the difference between the proportion of older 17
  • 18. party members and their weight in the total population. The two countries that buck thistrend are Italy, and the Czech Republic. In Italy party members are on the younger sidecompared to elsewhere, something that was true even before the post-1990 collapse of theItalian party system. In the Czech Republic party members are on the older side, possiblya reflection of the continuing strength of the former Communist party. On the otherhand, educational differences are more pronounced in the newer democracies, with all ofthese countries at the higher end of the scale (half a year or more) of disparity in averagenumber of years of schooling. Portugal, Spain and Greece, new democracies in WesternEurope, were also in this upper end of the range. This does suggest a greater resource-linked disparity in participation in these countries than is characteristic today in the moreestablished democracies, though it should be noted that Italy, Germany, the Netherlandsand Great Britain also figure in this same range. The newer democracies showed nosystematic difference from their established counterparts in terms of gender disparitiesbetween party members and the general population. Party memberships in thesecountries were not large enough to gauge the differences in left-right self-placementsbetween party members and supporters of individual parties.ConclusionThe results presented above present a surprisingly benign picture of the effects of partychange on the democratic process. Party memberships may be shrinking, but there islittle evidence that the declining appeal of enrollment has changed the characteristics ofthose who do chose to join. The biggest change of this sort is in terms of age: the everageage of party members has continued to rise, something that may result in a 18
  • 19. disproportionate political influence for pensioners and those nearing retirement. In otherways, however, the differences between party members and the general public remainedsmall and, in the case of gender, possibly shrinking. Most crucially, there was no signthat parties with declining memberships have members who are comparatively moreideologically motivated, and hence more distant from their at large supporters: there wasno systematic increase in the ideological distance between party members and partysupporters. This does not mean that smaller memberships may not present otherproblems for parties: many have traditionally relied on their members to supply largenumbers of local and regional government candidates, and have counted on the regularincome from party dues to provide a cushion of monetary support for some aspects ofparty activity. These contributions of party members are likely to be missed. But at theleast, as intra-party democracy spreads, there is no reason to think that today’s smallerparty memberships are more likely to make polarizing political decisions, or to pickcandidates and policies that might alienate their parties’ less committed supporters. 19
  • 20. Table 1 Enrollment in Political Parties as % of electorate Survey Data Party Data (year) Mair & Widfeldt ESS 1 ESS 2 Katz & Van 1989 2002/03 2004/05 Mair Scarrow BiezenAustria -- 14 13 21 (1990) 17 (1994) 18 (1999)Belgium 9 7 7 9 (1987) 8 (1995) 7 (1999)Denmark 8 6 6 7 (1988) 3 (1995) 5 (1998)Finland 14 (1987) 7 7 13 (1987) 11 (1995) 10 (1998)France 4 2 2 -- 2 (1995) 2 (1999)Germany 6 4 3 4 (1987) 3 (1996) 3 (1999)Great Britain 5 3 2 3 (1987) 2 (1997) 2 (1998)Greece 12 5 8 -- -- 7 (1998)Ireland 4 5 5 5 (1989) 3 (1997) 3 (1998)Italy 7 4 -- 10 (1987) 3 (1997) 4 (1998)Luxembourg 9 7 8 -- -- --Netherlands 7 5 6 3 (1989) -- 3 (2000)Norway 12 9 9 13 (1989) 8 (1997) 7 (1997)Portugal 3 5 3 -- -- 4 (2000)Spain 3 3 4 -- -- 3 (2000)Sweden 12 (1988) 8 7 8 (1988) 7 (1997) 6 (1998)Switzerland -- 9 7 -- 9 (1994) 6 (1997)Czech Republic -- 4 3 -- -- 4 (1999)Estonia -- -- 2 -- -- --Hungary -- 2 1 -- -- 2 (1999)Poland -- 2 1 -- -- 1 (2000)Slovakia -- -- 2 -- -- 4 (2000)Slovenia -- 5 3 -- -- --Sources: Widfeldt 1995; Jowell et al 2003; Jowell et al 2005; Katz, Mair et al 1992; Scarrow 2000; Mairand van Biezen 2001. 20
  • 21. Table 2 Age Distribution Of Party Members (ESS figures above, Widfeldt below in italics) Difference PARTY POPULATION Score 61+ 18-30 31-60 61+ N 18-30 31-60 61+ N 15.Austria 10.4 70.1 19.5 522 23.7 61.2 1 4242 4.4 20.Belgium 7.8 61.5 30.7 244 22.2 57.1 7 3324 10.0 33 386 21 60 19 3 30 50 20 3 -1.0 21.Denmark 7.6 55.8 36.6 172 19.3 58.9 8 2785 14.8 41 379 11 58 31 9 29 49 22 3 9.0Finland 9.2 47.4 43.4 272 20.9 55.1 24 3710 19.4 16 147 10 70 20 4 25 58 17 2 3.0 21.France 4.3 61.9 33.8 66 20.3 58.4 3 3116 12.5 378 26 50 24 14 29 50 21 9 3.0 24.Germany 9 58 33 173 17 58.2 9 5329 8.1 26 401 12 64 24 1 25 51 24 6 0.0 22.Great Britain 7.3 38.8 53.9 90 20.5 56.6 9 3630 31.0 25 459 17 54 29 7 28 48 24 7 5.0 27.Greece 9.4 63.4 27.3 286 19.3 52.9 8 4689 -0.5 33 374 26 60 14 4 26 53 21 0 -7.0 20.Ireland 11.6 52.2 36.3 223 23.3 56.5 2 4092 16.1 14 360 23 61 16 7 30 51 19 2 -3.0 20.Italy 23.3 57.3 19.4 44 21.8 58 2 1145 -0.8 35 383 20 62 18 4 28 53 19 9 -1.0 15.Luxembourg 7.45 62.76 29.8 276 27.6 57.2 2 2899 14.6 11 113 12 70 18 0 26 57 17 0 1.0 20.Netherlands 10.3 59.9 29.8 207 16.1 63.2 7 3989 9.1 29 375 14 52 34 9 31 49 20 4 14.0Norway 10.1 60.2 29.7 313 19.6 62.5 17. 3599 11.9 21
  • 22. 8 27 219 13 56 31 4 26 53 21 0 10.0 25.Portugal 28.6 47.2 24.2 118 23.3 50.9 8 3322 -1.6 371 24 59 17 78 31 48 21 9 -4.0 22.Spain 19.1 65.5 15.5 113 23.7 53.6 6 3101 -7.1 366 22 61 17 88 31 47 22 9 -5.0 21.Sweden 11.8 51.3 36.9 263 20.7 57.5 8 3614 15.1 31 284 12 56 32 1 25 52 23 5 9.0 20.Switzerland 5.2 60.1 34.7 310 18.3 61.3 4 3860 14.3 23.Czech Republic 7.1 52.7 40.2 146 19.4 57.3 3 4015 16.9 27.Estonia 16.7 52.4 31 42 21.9 50.9 2 1821 3.8 24.Hungary 21.2 48.2 30.6 38 21.6 54.1 3 2973 6.4 18.Poland 11.1 77.7 11.2 52 28.4 53.2 4 3501 -7.2Slovenia 10.9 60.5 28.6 119 23.8 53.2 23 2735 5.6 15.Slovakia 7.1 78.6 14.3 28 27.4 57.2 4 1343 -1.1Sources: Jowell et al 2003; Jowell et al 2005; Widfeldt 1995. 22
  • 23. Table 3 Gender Distribution of Party Members (ESS figures above, Widfeldt below in italics) DIRECTION OF MEMBERS ELECTORATE DIFFERENCE CHANGE % Male n % Male n 48Austria 63.3 2 47.1 4513 16.2 23Belgium 61.4 6 50.4 3648 11.0 minus 33 404 63 6 49 3 14.0 17Denmark 68.2 9 49.7 2989 18.5 plus 34 400 61 3 50 3 11.0 28Finland 51.8 0 47.4 4022 4.4 minus 16 147 64 4 51 2 13.0France 50.5 65 47.3 3309 3.2 minus 14 402 65 5 48 1 17.0 17Germany 66.4 3 47.8 5789 18.6 minus 27 429 70 5 46 3 24.0 10Great Britain 66.1 4 48.8 3947 17.3 plus 26 484 58 6 48 4 10.0 27Greece 63.3 3 44.1 4972 19.2 minus 33 400 73 7 48 0 25.0 22Ireland 59 3 44 4331 15.0 minus 15 401 66 5 50 6 16.0Italy 70.5 46 44.8 1207 25.7 plus 36 409 73 0 49 1 24.0 25Luxembourg 61 9 50.3 3184 10.7 minus 11 120 78 0 54 2 24.0 22Netherlands 56.4 2 44.3 4245 12.0 same 31 397 61 1 49 1 12.0 32Norway 60 6 53.2 3796 6.8 plus 23
  • 24. 27 219 52 4 50 0 2.0 11Portugal 71 1 43.1 3563 27.9 plus 400 72 79 48 0 24.0 10Spain 70.5 1 49.14 3390 21.4 minus 401 76 91 48 8 28.0 29Sweden 53.1 0 50.6 3943 2.5 minus 31 284 70 1 52 5 18.0 32Switzerland 60.3 5 48.3 4180 12.0 15Czech Republic 66.8 2 48.4 4180 18.4Estonia 53.5 43 41.1 1989 12.4Hungary 58.5 35 45.2 3183 13.3Poland 79.9 53 48.9 3826 31.0Slovakia 64.5 31 50.3 1477 14.2 12Slovenia 61.3 4 46.8 2929 14.5 24
  • 25. Table 4 Education Levels (mean years) Party Members N Population N Difference 53Austria 12.3 6 12.2 4432 0.1 25Belgium 12.5 3 12.2 3637 0.3 18Denmark 13.1 2 13.2 2961 -0.1 29Finland 11.0 2 12.1 4015 -1.1France 11.9 67 12.0 3244 -0.1 18Germany 14.3 0 12.9 5713 1.4 10Great Britain 13.2 7 12.5 3926 0.7 30Greece 10.4 0 9.9 4964 0.5 22Ireland 12.2 8 12.8 4207 -0.6Italy 12.1 50 10.7 1176 1.4 28Luxembourg 12.0 3 12.0 3097 0 22Netherlands 13.8 3 12.6 4221 1.2 33 3788Norway 13.2 1 13.2 9 0 12Portugal 8.6 3 7.4 3545 1.2 11Spain 12.6 4 10.8 3206 1.8 29Sweden 11.9 5 12.0 3933 -0.1 32Switzerland 11.0 7 10.7 4171 0.3 16Czech Republic 13.0 2 12.3 4241 0.7Estonia 13.2 46 11.9 1986 1.3Hungary 12.9 39 11.7 3173 1.2Poland 12.9 53 11.4 3811 1.5Slovakia 12.9 31 12.0 1471 0.9 12Slovenia 12.2 4 11.3 2944 0.9 25
  • 26. Table 5 Political Attitudes in Parties Mean Left-Right Self Placement (ESS figures above, Widfeldt below) Change Since Party Supporters N Members N Difference 1980s 19Austria SPÖ 4 631 3.9 3 0.1 20 ÖVP 5.7 613 5.7 6 0.0Belgium CVP 5.6 120 6 47 0.4 plus 6.8 280 6.9 68 0.1Switzerland Radicals 6.1 364 6.3 96 0.2 Christian Democrats 5.5 211 5.8 59 0.3 Social Democrats 3.2 729 2.6 58 0.6 Swiss Peoples Party 6.8 485 6.5 70 0.3Czech Republic Communists 1.8 276 1.4 67 0.4Denmark Social Democrats 4.7 601 4.4 56 0.3 plus 13 4.9 752 4.8 8 0.1 Venstre 4.9 142 5.9 59 1.0 14Finland Centre 6.8 483 6.8 1 0.0 same 6.4 249 6.4 50 0.0 Social Democrats 4.3 545 3.4 55 0.9 plus 4.3 286 3.6 33 0.7Great Britain Conservatives 6.6 521 7.2 44 0.6 same 107 12 7.5 9 8.1 4 0.6 10Greece PASOK 4.7 519 4.4 3 0.3 minus 10 4.5 930 4.1 5 0.4 14 New Democracy 8.2 465 8.3 2 0.1 plus 12 8.3 922 8.7 1 0.4 10Ireland Fianna Fail 6.0 840 6.5 6 0.5 plus 26
  • 27. 7.1 639 7.3 78 0.2 Fine Gael 5.9 403 6.1 64 0.2 minus 6.8 368 7.1 43 0.3 10Luxembourg Christian Socialists 5.9 472 6.1 6 0.2 same 7.2 228 7.4 45 0.2 Table 5 (Continued) Socialist Workers 3.5 310 3.4 62 0.1 minus 4.3 82 3.6 28 0.7 Democratic 5.9 178 5.6 49 0.3 10Norway Labour Party 3.9 628 3.4 4 0.5 same 4.4 581 3.9 72 0.5 Conservatives 7.4 404 7.6 53 0.2 minus 7.5 393 8.1 69 0.6Portugal Social Democrats 7.2 302 6.3 46 0.9Sweden Conservatives 7.7 456 8 59 0.3 minus 7.8 340 8.4 51 0.6 11 Social Democrats 3.7 991 3 3 0.7 same 102 14 3.7 3 3 0 0.7 27
  • 28. Table 6 Political Activities Index Party Electorate Member Difference 434Austria 1.1 7 2.3 520 1.2 363Belgium 0.9 1 1.9 253 0.9 295Denmark 1.1 8 2.2 181 1.1 400Finland 1.3 8 2.2 292 1.0 328France 1.3 5 3.2 68 2.0 576Germany 1.0 4 3.0 181 1.9 392Great Britain 1.0 1 2.4 107 1.4 492Greece 0.4 6 1.9 298 1.5 416Ireland 0.9 9 2.1 228 1.1 118Italy 0.7 5 3.4 48 2.8 310Luxembourg 1.1 8 2.0 273 1.0 421Netherlands 0.8 5 2.1 221 1.3 378Norway 1.5 3 2.7 331 1.2 352Portugal 0.3 8 2.1 122 1.7 330Spain 1.1 6 2.9 114 1.8 390Sweden 1.4 2 2.7 293 1.3 412Switzerland 1.2 2 2.6 323 1.4 418Czech Republic 0.6 1 2.0 157 1.4 196Estonia 0.3 7 1.8 45 1.5 315Hungary 0.3 5 2.4 38 2.1 378Poland 0.3 8 1.9 52 1.6 144Slovakia 0.6 1 2.6 32 2.0 291Slovenia 0.3 7 1.6 122 1.3 28
  • 29. Table 7 Comparing Countries with Bigger & Smaller Membership Declines Education Activity Change Difference Difference in Age Change in Members Members Disparit Gender & & y Difference Supporters SupportersBIG DECLINE*Finland 16.4 -8.6 -1.1 0.7*Germany 8.1 -5.4 1.4 1.6*GreatBritain 26.0 7.3 0.7 1.2*Greece 6.5 -13.8 0.5 1.3*Italy 0.2 -5.8 1.4 2.4*Norway 1.9 1.7 0 0.9*Sweden 6.1 4.8 -0.1 1.1SMALL/NO DECLINEBelgium 11.0 -15.5 0.3 0.8Denmark 5.8 -3.0 -0.1 0.9France 9.5 7.5 -0.1 1.6Ireland 19.1 -1.0 -0.6 1.0Luxembourg 13.6 -13.3 0 0.8Netherlands -4.9 0.0 1.2 1.0Portugal 2.4 3.9 1.2 1.6Spain -2.1 -6.6 1.8 1.6 29
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  • 33. i The Norwegian Social Science Data Services are the data archive and distributor of the ESS data.