Interest group policy goals and electoral involvement : lessons from legislative primary challenges
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Elections are one way in which interest groups seek to advance their policy goals. Policy studies and election studies have approached this issue differently, leaving unanswered questions about the relationship between interest group policy goals and electoral involvement. This report helps to fill the gaps by applying conventional wisdom to the unstudied question of interest group support for primary challengers. Its findings amend the conventional wisdom in a few key ways. While legislative access does have a negative effect on challenger support, a group-specific measure of access rather than a type-based inference shows the effect to extend beyond groups traditionally thought of as access-seekers. Further, interest in legislative access does not preclude targeted support for challengers by these groups. This suggests that groups may be more sensitive to political circumstances and willing to achieve policy goals through elections than previously thought.