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Difference Between Pressure Group and Political Party (With Table)

Pressure Group vs Political Party

The key difference between Pressure Group and Political Party lies in the fact that a pressure group means a group of people with the same interest who tries to influence the government relating to some specific objective.

A political party is a group of people with shared political aims to control the government. Pressure group does not participate in elections whereas political party participates in election.

A pressure group is an entity or association of persons who jointly aim at influencing public policy which is in line with the best interests of a specific cause.

It is also known as an advocacy group or special interest group. These groups may be motivated by commercial, moral, religious, or political persuasions.

A political party is an orderly group of persons who subscribe to a common ideology, field candidates to contest electoral positions, and ultimately acquire power.

Upon achieving this end, they go-ahead to implement the agenda of their party and exercise political power. These parties are registered in the states wherein they operate.


Comparison Table Between Pressure Group and Political Party (in Tabular Form)

arameter of ComparisonPressure GroupPolitical Party
Overall IntentAims at exerting influence on the government to pass some piece of legislation.Aims at acquiring power after which it uses the same to pass the pieces of legislation.
MembershipIts membership is limited only to those who subscribe to the same set of beliefs and ethos as the organization itself.Membership is broader and open to the general public. This stems from the highly competitive nature of politics.
AccountabilityAccountable only to the financiers and the trustees.Accountable to the general public as well as to the relevant statutory institutions.
CharacterHighly secretive, and often tend to achieve only one objective throughout its lifetime.Very open, broad, and aims at achieving many closely-related objectives at a time.
Size and InfluenceSmaller in size and limited in influence mostly to the specific ethos it subscribes to.Larger in size and tends to impact many spheres of life and society as a whole.


What is a Pressure Group?

A pressure group is a body of persons, who share similar interests and advance a particular cause.

This body seeks to influence public opinion, shape the formulation of policy but does not necessarily field candidates for elective positions. The group goes by the names ‘protest group,’ ‘lobby group,’ or ‘special interest group.’

This group plays a significant role in interlinking the governed and the government.

With regard to this interlink, the group also keeps the government more responsive to the needs and wishes of the electorate in between any two successive elections.

Moreover, the group also furnishes the government with vital pieces of information.

Pressure Group using slogans

What is a Political Party?

As stated above, a political party is an organized body of persons who share the same standpoints and ideologies on various issues.

This body fields candidates in various offices to represent those views and ideologies they share in common. After gaining power, the body uses the statutory instruments to further its agenda.

Generally speaking, a political party strives to win an election, take over the instruments of government, and ultimately influence public policy.

In some jurisdictions, the political parties are entitled to state funding and are actively supervised by the various government bodies.

Most have constitutions and are permanent in nature.

A political party’s working meeting in progress

Main Differences Between a Pressure Group and a Political Party


Pressure groups are often obscure, informal and largely unknown by the general public.

The political parties, on the other hand, are well-known to the general public, have some formal appearance, and largely open to scrutiny.

They also have offices all over the length and breadth of society.


A pressure group primarily exists to exert some pressure on the institution of government to pass certain pieces of legislation.

The political parties, on the other hand, seek to acquire power first and foremost, after which it uses the same to pass the various pieces of legislation it has in mind.


This refers to a system of ideals, ideas, ethos, and beliefs that form the basis of political or economic theories.

The pressure groups bring together people who share all manner of ideologies saved for politics.

A political party, on the other hand, is bounded mainly by political views, nothing more.


By their obscure nature, the pressure groups are not really accountable directly to the general public.

They are mainly accountable to their financiers and those who subscribe to them.

Political parties, on the other hand, are accountable for the welfare of general public.

These parties are often on the receiving end if they do not deliver.

Electoral Participation

As stated before, pressure groups do not field candidates for electoral positions.

They are however free to declare their open support for any party that shares or stands for similar ideologies as them.

Political parties actively participate in all elections and political campaigns with the ultimate goal of acquiring political power.

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A pressure group is primarily preoccupied with exerting its influence on the government with the aim of letting it fulfill its wishes and demands.

It does not in any way take part in the electoral processes.

The political parties on the other hand actively field candidates, campaign, and acquire power.


To achieve their ends, these two institutions employ various kinds of tools.

The pressure group mainly uses agitations, demonstrations, strikes, and boycotts to have their demands accepted and implemented.

Political parties, however, contest electoral positions, acquire power, and legislate their wishes into law. Hardly will they be involved in demonstrations.


Before admitting anyone into their ranks and files, these two entities rely on some set of ethos.

Their requirements for admission into the membership also differ markedly.

The pressure groups tend to limit their memberships only to those who share similar ideals.

Political parties are however more open for membership as they are mandated to do so by law.


Owing to the fact that pressure groups tend to limit their memberships only to those who share similar ideals as they, they are generally smaller in size.

Political parties, in an attempt to woo as many members into their folds compared to their rivals, tend to be larger in size.


All factors considered, the pressure groups tend to be conceited, secretive, and largely unrecognized by the general public.

Political parties tend to be more open and widely known by the general public.

This stems mostly from the competitive nature of vote hunting and political participation. Many even advertise openly about their own actions and ethos.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Pressure Group and Political Party

  1. What are the types of Political Party systems?

    There are 5 types of political party systems in the world:
    Non-Partisan System: In this political system, there are no parties involved. And the state or country is governed by a representative government as in a presidential system.
    One-Party System: In a one-party system, the government is formed by a single party. Even if there are other parties, they have very limited powers.
    Dominant-Party System: In this system, a category of political organizations, parties, or groups that wins the election forms a coalition government.
    Two-Party System: It is a political system, where only 2 major parties exist and either of them forms a government based on election results.
    Multi-Party System: In a multi-party system, there are multiple parties that contest elections to form regional and central governments.

  2. What are the two types of Pressure Groups?

    The two types of pressure groups are:
    Promotional Pressure Groups: These groups promote causes that can benefit the public in general. Normally, the members of the group work on behalf of public interest and put pressure on government authorities to implement various rules and regulations.
    Sectional Pressure Groups: These groups are formed to protect the interests of a section of society or a group of people and they generally promote causes with material concerns. This includes groups like traders’ associations.

  3. What is the role of the Pressure Group in a democracy?

    A Pressure group is a group of people who have come together to promote a cause. Such groups can significantly influence the decisions of a democratic government.

    As an organization of people, it seeks to participate in policy formation in various fields like education, agriculture, industry, and labor.

  4. What is the main goal of a Political Party?

    The main goal of a political party is to form a democratic government by contesting and winning elections.

    A party that wins the election can effectively promote matters of public interest and influence the formulation of various public policies.

  5. What is a Political Party made up of?

    A political party is made up of a group of people or members who share the same ideology and political values.

    Every party has a chief member who represents the party for contesting in elections.



As you may see from the foregoing explanations, the line that divides the political parties from the pressure groups is somewhat thin.

This notwithstanding, these two entities bear marked differences. You now have the guidance you need to determine the entity to subscribe to or further the ideals of.


Word Cloud for Difference Pressure Group and Political Party

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on the Pressure Group and Political Party. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Word Cloud for Pressure Group and Political Party



  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/260354
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354068899005001001
  3. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:2a695381-8a0a-423f-8a16-9bf4a7261b07/download_file?file_format=pdf&safe_filename=Cyber_party_paper.pdf&type_of_work=Report