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Party organization and satisfaction with democracy: inside the blackbox of linkage

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 19:31 authored by Paul WebbPaul Webb, Susan Scarrow, Thomas Poguntke
This article investigates the way in which party organizational resources and processes may affect perceptions of democracy, looking at the impact of parties’ top-down communication mechanisms and bottom-up internal processes. Our examination breaks new ground by pairing party organizational data from the Political Party Database (PPDB) with individual-level data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), and shows clear evidence of the link between parties’ organizational resource capacity and their ability to inspire satisfaction with democracy (the 'top-down' path from party organization to democratic evaluations). However, it does not appear that the degree of intra-party democracy practised (the 'bottom-up' path) has a similar impact. Overall, these results provide substantial evidence for the importance of party organization and agency in fostering the popular legitimacy of democratic political systems.


The Political Party Database Project: How Parties Shape Democracy; G1333; ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL; ES/L016613/1


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties




Taylor & Francis

Department affiliated with

  • Politics Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Sussex European Institute Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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