Convention Delegate Study, 2000 [United States]

  • John C. Green (Creator)
  • Geoffrey C. Layman (Creator)
  • Thomas M. Carsey (Creator)
  • Richard Herrera (Creator)



The 2000 Convention Delegate Study is a survey of the delegates attending the two major party presidential nominating conventions in 2000 and the respondents to the 1992 Convention Delegate Study (see ICPSR 6353). These delegates constitute the best available operational definition of national party elites, representing the full range of political activists. This study is the sixth in a series of studies of national convention delegates, adding to data collected in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 (and reaching back to a similar study in 1972). The present study shares an important feature with its predecessors: it closely parallels the 2000 American National Elections Study (ANES), allowing for a comparison between party elites and the mass public. Thus, the 2000 survey adds to a unique longitudinal dataset that covers over a quarter century of politics among activists and voters. The 2000 Convention Delegate Survey is a multi-purpose study designed to assess the changes in major party coalitions in the 1990s. In the decade between 1990 and 2000, the major parties experienced two kinds of changes, aptly captured in John Bibby's 1996 description of the major parties as "integrated networks of national-state party units, allied groups, and issue-oriented activists" (1999). The first change was the growing resources of formal party organizations and their enhanced capacity to provide services to candidates running under the party label (Bibby 1988; Herrnson 2000). The second change was the expansion and integration of allied interest groups and issue activists within party operations (Baer and Bositis 1993). Taken together these changes represent the institutionalization of candidate-centered politics and have important implications for the effectiveness of parties in elections and in government (Aldrich 1995). This study replicated the Cotter et al. items on organizational complexity (character of the party headquarters, division of labor, party budgets, and professionalization of leadership positions), programmatic capacity (institutional support activity and candidate-directed activity). The primary focus was to assess the impact of party organizational strength on the linkages between party elites and the mass public. Major party elites now include a more diverse set of activists in terms of interests and issue positions, presenting new opportunities and challenges to coalition building. This study documented the range and activities of such activists and compared their views to those of their co-partisans in the mass public in the 2000 election. This study also focused on the role of cultural groups among party elites, which have been a source of intense intra-party conflict in recent time (Hunter 1991). Central to these new cultural divisions is the politicization of religious affiliations, practices, and beliefs. The best illustration is the mobilization of evangelical Protestants into the Republican coalition. At the elite level, the Christian Right has matured as a social movement, and its most pragmatic wing is in the process of integrating itself into the GOP organization across the country, particularly in the South. These religious-based divisions, however, extend beyond the Christian Right, evangelicals, Protestants and the GOP to other religious traditions. Scholars have found ample evidence for the development of this new division in a host of specialized studies of political elites (Green et al. 1996; Guth et al. 1996), and Layman (1995) has found similar patterns in the previous delegate studies.
Date made available2012

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