Survey Variable: Political Acts Recruitment

By far the most common form of recruitment to undertake political acts, as shown in Panel A of Figure 1 (above, using weighted data), is via generic means such mass emails, letters, or social media requests.[1] It is only generic requests and requests from friends (Panel C) that are received by a majority of people with any frequency, though the latter has a far greater percentage (46.0%) than the former (28.8%) who never receive such requests. The remaining forms of recruitment see between three fifths (58.8%, requests from voluntary organisation members (Panel G)) and four fifths (82.1%, religious organisation members (Panel F)) of people indicating that they are never recruited to political acts via those routes. Thus, it seems that in pre-Brexit Britain, the single most common source of invocations to undertake political activity was not personal connections but generic requests, albeit ones that may have been targeted by the organisations sending them.

As with both official positions held and political acts undertaken, we can summarise political recruitment by counting how many types of request people ever receive. The result of doing this is presented, using weighted data, in Figure 2, and we can see that a plurality of people (albeit only a fifth, or 19.8%) never received any requests. A majority (56.1%) of respondents receive three or fewer forms of request though, of course, that means that a sizeable minority (43.9%) of people receive between four and eight forms of recruitment request with some frequency. This indicates that recruitment to undertake political may have been quite widespread in pre-Brexit Britain. However, we should interpret the figures relating to recruitment requests with caution. This is because such recruitment is correlated with political activity and, as noted elsewhere, surveys (especially drawn from panels of volunteer respondents) tend to over-sample politically active people.

Figure 2. See also Table 2A.
Variable namessc_polactrecruit_ir, sc_par_generic_ir,
sc_par_family_ir, sc_par_friend_ir,
sc_par_neighbour_ir
, sc_par_colleague_ir,
sc_par_membrelorg_ir
, sc_par_membvolorg,
sc_par_campaigner_ir
Number of cases1,405
Number of categories5
Categories to code as missingNone
Cases to code as missingNone
Recoded variable namesc_par_count
Number of cases1,405
Number of categories9
New and old categoriesCategories 1 (‘Once a year or less’), 2
(‘2-3 a year’), 3 (‘4+ times a year’),
4 (‘Monthly+’) on each of the
original variables were counted
as 1 (i.e. indicating that the
form of recruitment has been
received at some point), with
category 0 (‘Never’) counted as
zero. As such, 0 on the new
variable indicates that no forms
of recruitment have ever been
received whilst 8 indicates that all
8 forms of recruitment have been
received with some frequency.
Details of the original and recoded political recruitment variables.

[1] The weighted and unweighted numbers behind Figure 1 can be found in Table A1. Note: The question about requests recruitment by colleagues was only shown to respondents who were in part-time or full-time work, with respondents who were not in work (n = 578) coded as never receiving recruitment requests from colleagues.

Published by joegreenwoodhau

Joe Greenwood-Hau is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde, where he works on the Capital, Privilege and Political Participation in Britain and Beyond project.

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