Not as bad as we feared or even worse than we imagined? Assessing and explaining conservative party members' views on coalition
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© The Author(s) 2014.Although often treated as such, political parties are not unitary actors. Presumably, therefore, their leaders have to take at least some account of the views of their followers - not least when deciding whether or not to enter a coalition with other parties. Hitherto there has been relatively little research into those views. This article uses a survey of members of the UK's Conservative Party in order to elicit and explain their thinking on the coalition the party formed with the Liberal Democrats in 2010, on the performance of the government since then, and on the prospects of a similar arrangement after the next general election. It finds that, although they largely approve of the government's record, grassroots Tories regret the decision to go into coalition in the first place. However, they would sanction a continuation of the arrangement as the price of hanging on to power after the next election. Different members, of course, have different views, and these are best explained by ideological rather than demographic variables, as well as by members' views on their party leader and - at least in part - their levels of activism.