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Third Force PoliticsLiberal Democrats at the Grassroots$
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Paul Whiteley, Patrick Seyd, and Antony Billinghurst

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242825

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199242828.001.0001

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Why Join the Party?

Why Join the Party?

(p.68) 4 Why Join the Party?
Third Force Politics

Paul Whiteley (Contributor Webpage)

Patrick Seyd (Contributor Webpage)

Antony Billinghurst

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the pathways to Liberal Democrat Party membership. The recruitment process is discussed, followed by what it means for the average respondent to be a party member. The key issue of why people join the party is then considered. In examining motives for joining, two theoretical models of political participation are utilized: the civic voluntarism model and the general incentives model. Both resources and choices are important in explaining why people join the party. Members have more resources in the sense of higher incomes, better educational attainments, and higher status class characteristics than voters, but incentives are also important for influencing the decision to join the party. Thus, both models appear to be relevant in explaining why people join.

Keywords:   Liberal Democrat Party, membership, political participation, civic voluntarism model, general incentives model

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