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Public Advocacy and Organized Interests: The Direct Democracy Connection

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This article examines the usage of public advocacy techniques by interest groups at the state level. A mail survey of over 400 groups in three states is used to shed light on this phenomenon. Groups across the sample states report a great deal of public lobbying activity. This is true even among groups in South Carolina-a state where such behavior would not be expected. Findings further suggest that the most important indicators of a group's usage of public advocacy techniques are manifest in a group's resources, which include whether the group has a national affiliate, a political action committee, and a large budget. Business-related groups are not frequent users of public advocacy techniques. A group's participation in direct democracy campaigns is shown to be the strongest determinant of its deployment of public advocacy techniques. The presence of direct democracy in a state may therefore provide additional opportunities to engage in public lobbying campaigns. This finding supports Boehmke's (2005) observations detailing the indirect effects of direct democracy.

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