January, 2018

Interest Group Support for Non-Group Issues

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Find the paper online at SpringerLink.

Organized interest groups tend to focus on a narrow set of issues that promote the common interests of their members. They support political candidates who are favorable toward the group’s interests. But whereas interest groups support politicians based on a narrow set of issues, politicians have platforms that cover the entire political spectrum, so supporting a politician implies supporting all of that politician’s positions. A secondary effect of interest group support for politicians on one issue is that they are also supporting positions on other issues that are well outside the scope of that group’s interests. This analysis shows that the systematic relationships among politicians’ political platforms result in interest groups supporting issues that are well outside the stated common interests of the groups.