Date of Award

1990

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

T. Wayne Parent

Abstract

The basic assumptions of this study are that individual contributors to campaigns are motivated by a desire to enhance their self-esteem through access, acquired through giving, and that large givers exhibit behavior that indicates a greater desire for access. Large givers exhibit such behavior to a significantly greater extent than moderate or small givers, and seek "status" by giving for other than politically-explicit reasons. It is hypothesized that: (I) All contributors have a greater sense of political efficacy and greater trust in government than the general public. (II) Individuals contribute as a result of conventional, acceptable motives, which are: (1) Patriotism; (2) Ideology; (3) Efficacy; (4) Government Trust; (5) Party Identification/Partisanship; (6) Issue Orientation. There are statistically significant, positive relationships between the above conventional reasons for giving, and: (a) The amount of contribution; (b) The number of contributions; (c) The number of candidates to whom contributions are made. (III) There is a significant, positive relationship between a contributor's need to seek status (enhancement of self-esteem) and: (1) The amount of contribution; (2) The number of contributions; (3) The number of candidates to whom contributions are made. (IV) There is a significant, positive relationship between contributors who desire access and: (1) The amount of contribution; (2) The number of contributions; (3) The number of candidates to whom contributions are made. A questionnaire containing 56 questions was mailed to a random sample of 2,700 contributors to the 1988 United States Senate races in nine states, representing the nine census regions of the country. By using five variables, a "representative" state was selected. The data revealed that access is important to substantially all givers, but more important to large givers and those who contribute more frequently to more candidates, and certain attitudinal and behavioral indicators point to manifestations of the need for access to enhance the giver's self-esteem and status. Status is also important to the same group.

Pages

200

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