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Whither the Local Parties?: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis of the Strength of Party Organizations

James L. Gibson, Cornelius P. Cotter, John F. Bibby and Robert J. Huckshorn
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Feb., 1985), pp. 139-160
DOI: 10.2307/2111216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111216
Page Count: 22
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Whither the Local Parties?: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis of the Strength of Party Organizations
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Abstract

The authors have earlier demonstrated that state and national party organizations have increased in strength in the last few decades. Here they assess the nature of change in the attributes of local party organizations. They find that local parties have not become less active and less organized over the past two decades. Most sustain a fairly high level of programmatic activity and a significant minority of them conduct some party-maintenance activity in nonelection periods. The strength of local party organizations varies significantly by region, but not by party. Local organizational strength is relatively independent of the strength of the state party organizations, despite the substantial assistance state parties give to their local counterparts. These findings complicate the party demise thesis by suggesting that the consequences of change in one component of party must be assessed within the context of possibly dissimilar and maybe even compensatory change in the other components of party.

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