ABSTRACT

Prior to 2000, little was known about Danish party members. Party research had focused on party organizations (see e.g. Bille 1994; 1997). Citizen and voter surveys included only a limited number of party members; hence they could only contribute to a general picture. The parties themselves didn’t know much either as they did not necessarily collect gender and other characteristics when registering party members prior to the establishment and/or detailing of national membership registers in the 1990s-2000s. Hence, parties primarily depended on what they experienced at party events within the organization. In 2000, the survey of party members of all the parties represented in parliament provided the first full picture of party members’ motivations for enrolment, their social characteristics, political opinions, views on intra-party democracy and activism – at and between elections (Hansen 2002; Hansen and Saglie 2005; Pedersen 2003; Pedersen et al. 2004; Pedersen and Saglie 2005; Heidar and Pedersen 2006; Pedersen 2006). 1

Even if the 2000 survey did provide a comprehensive account of Danish party members, much has happened since then to call for an updated picture of Danish party membership. Some parties have disappeared, others have appeared. Some parties’ membership figures have increased, other parties’ figures have decreased. New information and communication technologies have been applied to a much larger extent within parties and during campaigns. Parties have professionalized not only their election campaigns but also their organizations and member management, including their strategies and tactics in regard to member mobilization and candidate recruitment. Parties have opened up their organizations to ad hoc and flexible participation. In sum, a plethora of indicators might have caused changes in the character of Danish party membership.