1 Mirror, mirror on the wall, who s the greenest of them all? The Greenness of Danish Party Membership Linkage Karina Pedersen Institut for Statskundskab Arbejdspapir 2006/05
2 Institut for Statskundskab Københavns Universitet Øster Farimagsgade 5 Postboks København K ISSN ISBN
3 Mirror, mirror on the wall, who s the greenest of them all? The Greenness of Danish Party Membership Linkage by Karina Pedersen Department of Political Science University of Copenhagen Østre Farimagsgade 5 DK-1014 København K. This working paper is a slightly revised edition of a paper presented to the workshop European Green Party Members: Analysing Political Behaviour at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, 28 March 2 April 2003 in Edinburgh. Thanks to the participants, especially Wolfgang C. Müller, for useful comments.
4 Abstract A green wave swept across Western Europe in the 1980s but even though the Danish electorate and institutional settings were conducive towards a Green party, the Danish Greens, De Grønne, were unsuccessful. The purpose of this working paper is, in the light of an electoral unsuccessful green party, to analyse the greenness of present Danish party membership linkage. On the basis of the ideal type characteristics of the New Politics party model, a model of the greenness of party membership linkage is set up. The policy dimension concerns the extent to which party members support green policies and issues. The organisational dimension focuses on the participatory aspects of party organisation. The socio-demographic dimension of the greenness of party membership linkage concerns the extent to which party members are young, with long education and female. The greenness of Danish party membership linkage is not assessed in any absolute sense. Instead, the party membership linkages of nine parties are compared in order to assess which of these is the greenest. The empirical source of the paper is a party member mail survey conducted in 2000 and It includes all nine parties represented in the Danish parliament, Folketinget, in The overall conclusion is that the greenest party membership linkage is found in the Red-Green Alliance. The Red-Green Alliance was established as an electoral alliance between three left-wing parties in The second greenest party membership linkage is found in the Socialist People s Party. The Socialist People s Party was established in 1959 as a splinter party from the Communist Party, DKP. Even without a Green Party there is greenness within the Danish party system.
5 The greenness of party membership linkage A green wave swept across Western Europe as part of a New Politics wave in the 1980s. There are several potential effects of the New Politics wave on the party system (Poguntke, 1987b: 79-80). This could, first, result in the establishment of various social movements, including ecological movements. Second, new politics proponents could take over small leftist parties or they could, thirdly, cause a split in a larger leftist party. Fourth, this segment of society could become alienated and not engage themselves in (party) politics, or they could, fifthly, form a new party. By pointing towards these various potential impacts on party systems, Poguntke shows that the establishment of a new party is not at all the sole result of the New Politics and Green waves. Even though Danish voters are characterized by a high level of education and the Danish electoral system is characterized by low barriers of entry the green wave did not in Denmark result in the representation of a distinct green party in parliament. The Greens, De Grønne, stood for election to parliament in 1987, 1988 and 1990 and got 1.3 pct., 1.4 pct. and 0.9 pct., respectively, of the votes (the threshold being 2 pct.). The purpose of this working paper is, in the light of an electoral unsuccessful green party, to analyse the greenness of present Danish party membership linkage. What is the functional equivalent of a Green party in the Danish context? The main assignment of political parties is the creation of linkage between elected representatives and the mass public (see, among others, Sartori, 1976: ix; Lawson, 1980: 3; Widfeldt, 1997: 12). Political parties are not the sole providers of democratic political linkage (see, among others, Luttbeg, 1968; Fuchs & Klingemann, 1995; Arts, 1995), but regardless of whether parties are merely one among several providers of linkage, they provide a unique form of linkage due to their role in elections and thereby in regard to representative democracy. Parties are the only actors carrying out activities both in the electoral arena and in the parliamentary arena (Bille, 1997: 17). Political parties link elected representatives and citizens by providing channels for both communication and participation (Katz, 1990: 159).
6 There are overall two ways in which political parties can establish linkage between society and institutions of government, namely directly between citizens and party and indirectly through organisational mediators (Poguntke, 2000; Poguntke, 2002). One kind of organisation is the party membership organisation. Linkage through party membership organisations is merely one form of linkage and by no means the only way by which parties may accomplish linkage. Parties need not have membership organisations in order to provide linkage. But it is party membership linkage, which is focused upon here. Dimensions in the greenness of party membership linkage On the basis of the ideal type characteristics of the New Politics party model it is possible to set up a model by which the greenness of party membership linkage may be assessed. The question is thus whether and to what extent party membership linkages are green in a new politics sense not in a Conservative or centre sense (cf. Poguntke, 1987b). The greenness of party membership linkages is assessed on three dimensions, namely an policy, an organisational and a sociodemographic dimension. The policy dimension concerns the political profile of the party. With a focus on greenness and not new politics in general the question of analysis becomes whether and the extent to which party members support green policies and issues. The organisational dimension focuses on the participatory aspects of party organisation. The New Politics party type has a number of formal organisational characteristics, such as the preeminence of lowest unit, separation of offices, restrictions on accumulation of offices, local autonomy, openness, rotation of offices, collective leadership, emphasis on equal rights, amateur politics and grass roots participation (Poguntke, 1987a; Poguntke, 1987b; Poguntke, 1992; Poguntke 1994). In the assessment of the greenness of party membership linkage focus is upon the actual practice, that is, the extent to which party members actually participate. 1 1 The extent to which green parties in practice display large rates of participation has already been questioned. Poguntke finds that even though Green party members are more powerful they do not exhibit significantly greater levels of participation than do members of other parties but they may use different action techniques (1993: 155). But this does not inflict on the ideal typical characteristic that New Politics parties are participatory.
7 The socio-demographic dimension of the greenness of party membership linkage concerns the socio-demographic characteristics of the party members. A characteristic of the new politics party type is that its supporters are mainly young and highly educated (Poguntke, 1987b: 81). Therefore, the younger and more educated the members, the greener the party membership linkage. To these two factors is added a third socio-demographic characteristic, namely gender. Due to green parties emphasis on equal rights and their link to women s movements, gender representativity is expected in green parties. The more equal representation of the two genders, the greener the party. The empirical source of the paper is a party member mail survey conducted in 2000 and It includes nine parties all parties represented in the Danish parliament, Folketinget, in The parties are, in order of placement on the left-right scale according to their members: The Red-Green Alliance, Enhedslisten (RGA); Socialist People s Party, Socialistisk Folkeparti (or SF) (SPP); Social Democratic Party, Socialdemokratiet (SDP); Social Liberal Party, Det Radikale Venstre (SLP); Centre Democrats, Centrum-Demokraterne (or CD) (CD); Christian People s Party, Kristeligt Folkeparti (ChPP); Liberal Party, Venstre (LP); Conservative People s Party, Det Konservative Folkeparti (CoPP) and Danish People s Party, Dansk Folkeparti (DPP). Each party sample in the member survey comprised a random sample from the parties membership files (1,000 members from each of the three largest parties and 800 members from each of the six smaller parties). The overall response rate is 68 percent ranging from 60 to 80 percent in the nine parties. The column all contains weighted data in order to be representative of Danish party members. The weight is calculated on the basis of the parties relative share of the aggregate number of party members. 2 The survey was funded mainly by the Danish Democracy and Power Study, Magtudredningen. It was conducted by Lars Bille, Hans Jørgen Nielsen and Karina Pedersen (University of Copenhagen), Jørgen Elklit and Bernhard Hansen (University of Aarhus) and Roger Buch (University of Southern Denmark) (see Bille & Elklit, 2003; Hansen, 2002; Pedersen, 2003).
8 In sum, on the basis of a party member survey the greenness of Danish party membership linkages is assessed on three dimensions, namely an policy, an organisational and a sociodemographic dimension. The policy parameter is the extent to which party members support green policies. The more support, the greener the party membership linkage. Second, the organisational parameter is the extent to which party members participate in party activities. The more participation, the greener the party. Third, the socio-demographic parameter is the age, educational level and gender of party members. The younger and more educated the members, the greener the party membership linkage. The more equal gender representation among members, the greener the party. These three dimensions are analysed in turn. So, what Danish party membership linkage is the greenest of them all? The policy dimension of greenness The greenness of Danish party membership linkage may be determined on the basis of the opinions and attitudes of the members. As depicted in Table 1 members of the two left-wing parties show a larger degree of environmental concern than members of the other parties. It is worth noting that the same applies in the electoral arena where voters of the two left-wing parties are markedly greener in their opinions than are voters of other parties. In general, the more to the left on the left-right scale, the greener the party. Table 1: Environmental concern among members and voters. RGA SPP SDP SLP CD ChPP LP CoPP DPP Members Average score Standard deviation N Voters Average score Standard deviation N Source: Danish Party Member Survey 2000/01 and National Election Survey Note: The question in the party member survey is: We sometimes talk about a green dimension, where some political parties attach great importance to the state of the environment, while other political parties find that environmental considerations have gone out of control. Concerning this question where would you place your views on the scale below? (1=the least green policy 5= the most green policy, do not know). Respondents responding do not know are left out.
9 In regard to the political face of the greenness of Danish parties it is, on this basis, possible to argue that the greenest parties represented in the Danish parliament are the Red-Green Alliance and the Socialist People s Party. The organisational dimension of greenness The organisational dimension of the greenness could include a number of different aspects but focus is here upon participation as this provides an indication of actual practices within the parties. Participation is a multi-dimensional phenomenon (Parry, 1972; Heidar, 1994). Party members differ in terms of the amount of participation, the types of party activities they engage in, and the way in which they engage in them. In order to acquire a more comprehensive understanding of party member participation, the polymorphic nature is assessed if not wholly then at least to a large degree on the basis of type, amount and intensity of participation. The amount of party member participation may be assessed by a number of different measures. Two measures are applied in this assessment. First, an overall account of the party member participation is given by the time party members spend on party activities within an average month. Second, the amount of participation is gauged on the basis of the width of participation (Parry, 1972: 11; Heidar, 1994), that is, the share of members engaging in a specific party activity within a specific period of time. The type of participation is determined by the activities engaged in by party members as depicted in the demand-side arguments for declines in party membership figures. Demand-side explanations for declines in party membership figures focus on whether it is advantageous for parties to have party members. A number of scholars have argued how party members impute expenses, as well as benefits, on electoral motivated political parties, or, in other words, how party members are advantageous and disadvantageous to parties (Katz, 1990; Elklit, 1991; Scarrow, 1994; Scarrow, 1996: 41-46; Seyd & Whiteley, 1992; Whiteley et al., 1994). The potential legitimacy and direct electoral benefits of party members are of a different nature, as they do not (directly) concern party activity. But the other potential benefits of party members
10 may roughly be divided into two groups depending on whether the party activities involved (primarily) take place within the party or in relation to the electoral arena. Within the party, party members engage in activities by which they contribute towards communication and innovation, and they may provide recruitment input by taking on an office within the party arena. Public offices, on the other hand, are engaged in in relation to the electoral arena, as are party members outreach and labour inputs to their parties. Party members financial contributions may be regarded both as internal and external but are included in the latter category, as analyses show how financial contributions are increasingly of value in election campaigns (Pedersen, 2003: ). 3 There are two ways in which the intensity of participation may be assessed. First, an overall approach would be to distinguish between party activities on the basis of how much they demand of members. Taking on a public office is more demanding than merely attending a party meeting and an office-holding member is therefore participating more intensively than a member who attends a meeting (see Heidar, 1994). Second, the intensity of participation concerns how party members participate in a specific type of activity. Members attending a party meeting may, e.g., merely attend or they may take the floor (Heidar, 1994: 61). In this paper the intensity of participation is assessed on the basis of the size of the financial means provided by members and the extent to which party members who attend meetings take the floor. Turning first to the amount of participation in the Danish parties, Table 2 shows that more than half the party members spend no time at all on party activities. These are the passive members. The Christian People s Party has more passive members than any other party, while the Red- Green Alliance has the lowest share. Members spending one to five hours on party activities, 3 The types of participation dealt with here are rather conventional party activities. In regard to an assessment of green participation in a new politics way this is problematic in (at least) two ways. First, this does not take account for the unconventional ways in which members may participate within new politics parties. Second, it does not take account of political activities outside the party arena in which members may engage. New politics supporters tend to correspond to the type of cognitively mobilized non-partisans who are relatively distant from party politics (Poguntke, 1992: 250). This implies that parties have a hard time mobilizing these supporters. But even if they are successful at that, the chances are that these members to a lesser extent than other party members restrict themselves to participation within the party.
11 those labelled the semi-active, make up less than one third of all members. Just over one in ten are active members spending more than five hours a month on party activities. The Christian People s Party and the Liberal Party have only seven and eight percent active members respectively. The Red-Green Alliance and the Socialist People s Party both have 25 percent active members. In general, parties to the left display larger shares of active members than parties to the right, except for the Danish People s Party. Table 2: Average time spent by party members on party activities in a month. Percent. RGA SPP SDP SLP CD ChPP LP CoPP DPP All Passive members (0 hours) Semi-active members ( hours) Active members (6 or more hours) Total Average number of hours N ,655 Source: Danish Party Member Survey 2000/01. Note: The question in the party member survey is: How much time do you devote to party activities in the average month?. The average for all members is weighted but the total N is not. Missing cases are disregarded. Time spent on party activities in an average month does not indicate what kind of activities party members actually engage in. The amount of participation is also assessed on the basis of the shares of party members participating in different types of party activities. First, party activities in relation to the electoral arena are analysed, after which party activities within the party arena are assessed. The electoral process including candidate nomination lies at the very heart of representative democracy. Candidate recruitment for national, regional and local elections remains virtually inconceivable without political parties. Members contribute to parties as they provide a pool of personnel from which parties may recruit candidates for public offices at different levels. The first row of Table 3 shows the small shares of members holding office. The present office holding among party members is not primarily dependent upon the participation of members as it depends more on the electoral fortunes of parties. It is therefore not a good measure of party
12 member participation. A better measure is the extent to which members are ready to hold these positions. This is gauged on the basis of questions on members willingness to stand for election at the municipality, county, or national levels if encouraged by the party. Table 3 demonstrates that there is some variation between parties. The Centre Democrats, Danish People s Party and Socialist People s Party have the largest shares of members willing to stand for election if encouraged by their party. Parties may within their financial and judicial limits choose between labour or capital intensive activities. The general tendency is that West European parties increasingly use capital intensive activities such as commercials, advertisements, focus groups, and opinion polls, especially during election campaigns (Bowler & Farrell, 1992: 227; Butler & Ranney, 1992: ). Danish parties have for a long period withheld from this development because of limited financial resources but the introduction of public financing in 1987 and a drastic increase in 1995 enabled the parties to engage in more capital-intensive activities (Andersen & Pedersen, 1999). More money is spent on election campaigns than previously. Parties advertise more in newspapers, spend more money on their presentation programmes on television, and make some use of focus groups. The PR and information sections of the party organisations have also been professionalised. However, this does not imply that parties do not need the participation and activity of their members. The financial resources of Danish parties are still limited compared to international standards and not all labour intensive activities may be substituted by capital intensive activities. The public may also regard it as inappropriate for parties to hire people to take on assignments that have earlier been performed by party members since this indicates that parties lack a basis of support or neglect their rank-and-file members. Furthermore, there are legal limits to what parties can do. In Denmark there are no limits on parties spending, but political commercials are not allowed on national radio and TV. Parties therefore still depend on the activity of their members.
13 The second section in Table 3 depicts the share of members engaged in four different campaign activities at the 1998 general election. Participation varies between parties. Members of the Red- Green Alliance participate the most, followed by members of the Socialist People s Party and the Social Democratic Party. The lowest levels of participation are found in the Danish People s Party, which is expected because of the recent enrolment of a large part of the members, and in the largest party, the Liberal Party. Party members are often in contact with other citizens and as such may act as ambassadors to the community (Scarrow, 1996: 43) or as representative figureheads in their local communities (Whiteley et al., 1994: 4). Members visible in the local environment convey the impression that a party is more than just an enterprise of the political elite (Scarrow, 2000: 84). Party members outreach into their immediate environments is of particular relevance between elections; as the parties are not otherwise campaigning during these inter-election periods the potential impact of this kind of local presence (or outreach) could be significant. The third section of Table 3 shows that the variation among parties is limited when it comes to whether or not party members within the last five years have discussed party policies with non-members or in the 1998 election campaign tried to convince non-members to vote for the party. In regard to writing letters to the editor on party policies, members of the Centre Democrats and Socialist People s Party are the most active. Members may also contribute with financial resources to the party. A study of party funding shows that membership has become more expensive in all parties except the Centre Democrats (Bille, 1997: ), even though the increasing dues have not compensated for the loss of income arising from a decline in membership. The financial importance of party members has declined if measured on the basis of their subscriptions as a share of total party income (Bille, 1997: 191). But members' dues still make up a substantial share of the income of local party organisations. This enables various activities to take place and provides some financial autonomy for local parties. Secondly, the public funds must be spent within the financial year and cannot be saved for future election campaigns. By contrast, members' and other supporters' contributions, together with contributions from organisations such as trade unions and employers organisations
14 provide funds, which parties can plan to spend on campaign activities. The financial contributions of members are therefore potentially more important than what might be seen from a simple perusal of their accounts. Table 3 shows that members of the Christian People s Party to a larger degree than other party members contribute with financial resources. Next comes the Red-Green Alliance. When assessing not only the width of participation but also the intensity, the size of the contributions may be of interest. Financial contributions from members vary greatly among Danish parties (not shown in table). The self-reported dues and voluntary contributions in 1999 differ between, on the one hand, the Red-Green Alliance and the Socialist People s Party, where members, on average, pay the equivalent of 81 and 85, respectively (and half of the members contribute more than 80) and, on the other hand, the Centre Democrats, where members contribute the least, i.e., an average of only 24 (and only a tenth of the members give more than 33). The Liberal Party ( 28) and the Danish People s Party ( 30) also have low averages. The intensity of the financial participation by party members varies among parties. After this assessment of party members participation in party activities in relation to the electoral arena, focus is now turned to party activities mainly taking place within the party arena. Danish party organisations are primarily organised according to the principles of delegatory democracy. Internal party offices are obviously an important aspect of the representative system within the individual party s organisational hierarchy. Within any given party there is a number of positions to be filled. The members in these positions have a number of formal and informal responsibilities and make an important contribution to the party s image. Office within the party provides a powerful position. Even though parties differ substantially in the number of enrolled members and slightly in terms of structure, the rate of members with internal party positions does not diverge markedly among the parties, even though it does vary. The fifth section of Table 3 shows that between 17 and 30 percent of all party members assume a position within the party. The highest ratios are found in the Centre Democrats, Socialist People s Party and Social Liberal Party, while the lowest are found in the Christian People s Party, Liberal Party and Danish
15 People s Party. Even though the variation is limited, it points towards relatively more officeholders among parties left of the Christian People s Party. The principle of delegatory democracy is also observed in practise in meetings. Party meetings are a very traditional party activity and an important type of communicative party activity. Party life actually centres on meetings, but on many different kinds of meetings. There are annual general meetings held at each organisational level formally required for the working of the party and stated in party statutes, meetings where candidates are nominated or other important decisions are discussed and/or made, and social gatherings where political aspects play little or no role. Meetings are an important part of many different decision-making processes, and simultaneously have social and educational functions in regard to party members. The sixth section of Table 3 shows that the Red-Green Alliance and Social Liberal Party generally have the largest shares of members participating in meetings, followed by the Conservative People s Party and Social Democratic Party. A slightly different pattern arises when the intensity of party members participation is assessed on the basis of the share of members taking the floor at sub-national meetings and national conferences (not shown in table). Of the members participating in these meetings there is a larger share taking the floor in the Red-Green Alliance and Centre Democrats. At the national conferences members of the Danish People s Party are also quite active, as are members of the Socialist People s Party and Social Liberal Party when it comes to sub-national meetings.
16 Table 3: Width of participation by party members in different types of activities. Percent. 4 RGA SPP SDP SLP CD ChPP LP CoPP DPP All Electoral Arena Recruitment Presently hold public office Potential officeholder Labour Attend public election meeting Deliver leaflets Organise street stalls Put up election posters Outreach Discuss party policies with non-members Encourage voters to vote for party Write letters to the editor on party policies Financial Voluntary contribution in nonelection year Voluntary contribution in election campaign Organise fundraising in election campaign Internal Arena Recruitment Office within the party Meetings Participate in sub-national meetings Participate in annual general meeting in local branch Participate in national conference Participate in social and cultural arrangements Personal contact National parliamentarians Contacting local branch Electronic communication Visit website Participate in electronic debate All is weighed. For the wording of the survey questions and N, please see appendix.
17 Receive s Innovation Participate in working groups Formulate proposals The formal hierarchical party structure and formalised decision-making procedures are an important part of the communication network within a party; however, informal individual contact between rank-and-file party members and different parts of the party organisation also provide for the distribution and control of information. Two more informal aspects of political parties communication systems are analysed in this paper. First, direct contact between individual party members and elected representatives in public office and between party members and party branches. The results are mixed. In regard to the former the most active members are those of the Centre Democrats, Danish People s Party and Socialist People s Party, whereas members of the Red-Green Alliance and Socialist People s Party are the most active in regard to the latter. The second aspect of the communication system dealt with is the electronic communication that is facilitated by the new information and communication technologies. Within the party arena, these new opportunities broaden the communication system by increasing the available means of communication. The eighth section of Table 3 shows that members of the Red-Green Alliance and Centre Democrats are the most active when it comes to these new opportunities. These parties are followed by the Social Liberals. Party members may provide innovation benefits to the parties by generating ideas and being innovative both in relation to the policies and the organisation of the party. This may enable parties to keep track of public concerns, upcoming ideas, new tendencies etc. One way in which party members may provide the innovation benefit is by taking part in working groups and the like within the party arena. The existence of working groups at several levels within the party allows for a comprehensive aggregation of policy proposals, ideas and interests throughout the party hierarchy. Another way in which party members input to the political processes of the party may be assessed is on the basis of their participation in formulating proposals to be decided in the party. The last section in Table 3 shows how members in the Socialist People s Party, Red- Green Alliance and Social Democratic Party to a larger extent than other party members
18 contribute with the innovation benefit when this is assessed on the basis of the extent to which party members participate in working groups and in formulating political proposals to be passed in the party. In sum, the share of active members those spending more than five hours a month on their party is largest in the Red-Green Alliance and Socialist People s Party. On the basis of how many times the party makes it into the top-three on the basis of the share of members participating in the activities the most participatory, and thereby green, party membership linkage is found in the Red-Green Alliance, followed by the Socialist People s Party. The Social Democratic Party, Social Liberal Party and Centre Democrats follow the two left-wing parties when the greenness is assessed on the basis of the width of participation in the types of party activities depicted here. This is in general supported by the analyses of the intensity of participation. The socio-demographic dimension of greenness The socio-demographic dimension of the greenness of Danish party membership linkage is assessed on the basis of the age, educational level and gender of the party members. Age has been regarded as a politically relevant dimension, even though it has not been politicised to the extent, as has been the case with gender. Young people are absent from traditional politics to a great degree, as it is dominated by middle-aged men. Part of the explanation for this is that younger citizens are less likely to have established partisan attachment (Webb, 1996: 377). But young people are not apolitical, as they engage in other forms of political participation or are political in other ways. Age seems to be of increasing political relevance, especially in countries facing welfare retrenchment. The large post-war generation of some of the West European countries is reaching retirement age, thereby placing great pressure on the welfare systems, especially in regard to pensions and healthcare. In 1998, almost a third of the Danish voters mentioning welfare as an
19 important issue for politicians to deal with, specifically mentioned welfare issues pertaining to the elderly (Goul Andersen, 1999: 119). 5 Table 4 shows that the age profile of party members is by no means representative for the electorate. In general, voters below 50 years of age are underrepresented in political parties while voters above 50 years are over-represented, if party members and voters in 1998 are compared. The lack of age representativity among party members is substantial, and it is no wonder if parties have an old public image. Younger citizens are strongly underrepresented, whereas older citizens are strongly over-represented. However, at the party level the Red-Green Alliance, Centre Democrats and Social Liberal Party attract the largest share of members below 40 years of age. Table 4: Age dispersion of members, 2000/01, and voters, Percent. RGA SPP SDP SLP CD ChPP LP CoPP DPP All Voters Total Average age N ,162 2,000 Source: Danish Party Member Survey 2000/01 and National Election Survey Note: Age is calculated on the basis of the question in the party member survey: In what year are you born? All is weighed but N is not. An often-supported hypothesis concerns a positive relationship between education and political involvement (Milbrath, 1965: 53-54; Norris & Lovenduski, 1995: 113). Studies of political participation within the socio-economic status perspective have shown the relevance of social status and especially education in explaining political participation (Verba et al., 1995: 338). Education is an important individual resource, as the knowledge and competence acquired through education provides a perspective for a better understanding of the political processes and political skills, thereby creating motivation for and interest in political participation. This leads 5 The rise of so-called pensioners parties supports this tendency to the increasing relevance of the age dimension. In Sweden, for example, the pensioners party, Sveriges Pensionärers Interesseparti, has gained local representation.
20 one to expect that citizens with a longer education will be over-represented in political parties, as they are more inclined than other citizens to enrol in a party. Research has shown that this has not previously been the case in Denmark, as those enrolled in the parties to the greatest degree are citizens with only seven years of school (Goul Andersen et al., 1980: 216). Education is assessed on the basis of whether members and voters have completed upper secondary school, i.e., Studentereksamen, HF-eksamen, Højere Handelseksamen or Højere Teknisk Eksamen. 6 Table 5 shows that a little more than a third of the party members have completed upper secondary school, but the variation among parties is substantial. The two leftwing parties and the Social Liberals have higher shares of party members with upper secondary education. The newly established Danish People s Party, on the other hand, attracts members with little education. The party s share of members with an upper secondary diploma is the lowest of all the parties, closely followed by the Christian People s Party. Danish parties are generally quite representative when it comes to whether voters and members have an upper secondary diploma. But there is a tendency supported in almost all parties, whereby a greater share of members than voters have an upper secondary diploma, thus supporting the expectations that members have longer education than voters in general. Table 5: Share with high school diploma among members, 2000/01, and voters, Percent. RGA SPP SDP SLP CD ChPP LP CoPP DPP All Among members N ,061 Among voters N ,996 Source: Danish Party Member Survey 2000/01 and National Election Survey Note: The question in the party member survey is: What school education have you got? (Less than 7 years of school, 7-8 years of school, 9-10 years of school, High school degree (studentereksamen, HF-eksamen, Højere Handelseksamen or Højere Teknisk Eksamen), Other). All is weighed but N is not. Note that the category high school diploma includes the traditional, business and technical high school diplomas. New politics parties are characterized by the promotion of equal rights and sex parity. On this basis it may be argued that an equal representation of the genders are expected in new politics 6 Danish upper secondary education represents a two- or three-year academic education that is completed after nine or 10 years of elementary schooling. While in some respects corresponding to high school in the American context, it is far less common for Danish pupils to pursue an upper secondary education, as many of them instead choose to begin to study a trade or pursue another, less academic, field of education.