Situated in the literature concerning the decline of party members, and the dearth of young party members, this article considers the factors that influence the decision of a politically engaged young person to join, or not join, a political party. Making use of a unique dataset, we examine the attitudes and socialization of a large group of politically active young Canadians, a group that includes a significant number of both party members and non-party members. The article finds significant attitudinal differences towards political parties, with non-members highly suspicious of parties in terms of their general democratic performance, their efficacy in achieving social and political change and in the ability of grassroots members to influence party decision-making. We also find important socialization effects, the most significant being that young party members are considerably more likely than non-members to have a parent who is a party member. Recruitment through family members appears to be a principal path to party membership for young voters. Copyright

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Party Politics
Department of Political Science

Cross, W, & Young, L. (Lisa). (2008). Factors influencing the decision of the young politically engaged to join a political party: An investigation of the Canadian case. Party Politics, 14(3), 345–369. doi:10.1177/1354068807088126