Members of polarized networks may feel pressure to choose loyalties: Another example of partisan divide

Nov 02, 2012

(Phys.org)—Democrats and Republicans may find it increasingly challenging to bridge the partisan divide when their memberships in political organizations remain polarized.

A new University of Michigan study involving Democrat and Republican convention delegates indicate they live in different organizational worlds. Few organizations share members of each party, making it more difficult to find bipartisan causes, says lead author Michael Heaney.

Thus, a member of the who is also involved in an interest group, such as the Teamsters, may be forced to choose between loyalties to these organizations when these organizations take conflicting positions on the right to organize labor unions.

Research teams conducted surveys at the 2008 Democratic and Republican national conventions. Respondents—504 Democrats and 369 Republicans—were asked about memberships they held in any political organizations, social movement organizations or .

Among delegates belonging to the same organization, only 1.78 percent of them crossed party lines, and only 2.74 percent of the ties between organizations sharing common delegates were bipartisan.

"Party activists rarely find themselves in political settings where they are on common ground with activists from the other major party," said Heaney, U-M assistant professor of organizational studies and political science.

The study showed that Democrats join more organizations than Republicans, but are less likely to unite around the same organizations than are Republicans. Party members sharing a common interest isn't entirely bad, Heaney says.

"In many ways, it is important for the parties to form some exclusive organizations that allow them to build solidarity and coordinate their plans for elections and government," he said.

Nevertheless, the divide between groups may involve several factors, such as activists preferring organizations that favor their political or the lack of organizations that represent issues of both parties.

They study's other authors are political scientists Seth Masket of the University of Denver, and Joanne Miller and Dara Strolovitch of the University of Minnesota. The findings appear in the current issue of American Behavioral Scientist.

Explore further: Feeling bad at work can be a good thing

More information: abs.sagepub.com/content/early/… 463354.full.pdf+html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Did Obama's election kill the antiwar movement?

Apr 06, 2011

Since 2003, the antiwar movement in the United States has had much to protest with Americans fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya, but the movement—which has dropped off sharply the past two years—may be ...

Why New Political Parties Sizzle or Fizzle

Aug 04, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Across the globe, new political parties, from green parties to anti-immigration parties, are constantly emerging in democratic countries. But while some of these nascent single-issue groups fade away, others, ...

Which politicians do voters blame for the down economy?

Aug 17, 2010

A down economy usually spells trouble for incumbents, but a new Brigham Young University study shows that six Republicans up for re-election this year caught a break when John McCain lost the last presidential election.

Recommended for you

Feeling bad at work can be a good thing

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Research by the University of Liverpool suggests that, contrary to popular opinion, it can be good to feel bad at work, whilst feeling good in the workplace can also lead to negative outcomes.

3Qs: Citizen journalism in Ferguson

21 hours ago

Tensions have escalated in Ferguson, Missouri, following the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, by a white police officer. The incident has led to peaceful protests ...

Social inequality worsens in New Zealand

21 hours ago

Research by Dr Lisa Marriott, an associate professor in Victoria's School of Accounting and Commercial Law, and Dr Dalice Sim, Statistical Consultant in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, builds ...

User comments : 0