Everyone related with politics is interested in measuring his adversary’s political influence. Influence in politics largely depends on political sources and skill to use them. Political resource is a means by which one can influence the behaviour of other persons. For measuring influence, one can rely on Dahl’s notion that A influences B to the extent that he gets B to do something that B would not otherwise do. We can notionally measure A’s influence on B when the latter does x when A does not influence B. When A does influence, B does x1. Thus, the influence of A on B would be x1 – x. We can determine direction, volume, scope, weight and durational effect of a person’s influence under study. Dahl has suggested five ways of comparing influence.
They can be taken as the basis of measuring influence:
(1) The amount or extent of change occurred in the position of the actor influenced;
(2) Subjective psychological costs of the influences while complying with an order or undergoing a hardship;
(3) The amount of difference in the probability of compliance, especially when the influencer puts the influences under his act of influence;
(4) Difference in the nature and extent of responses. Some may respond in all general matters while others may react to specific stimuli; and
(5) The number of persons responding to the situation, act, or influence.
These steps are not at all foolproof. In order to arrive at better and reliable results one has to make use of maximum number of measures. The paradigm given by Dahl for comparison would make it more specific: … is more influential than … with respect to … as measured by… and… Rowe opines that influence owing to secrecy and other factors can rarely be measured.
It can only be approximately assessed in terms of:
(c) Certainty, and,
The last relates to policy-sustaining effects. He rightly observes that political influence is unevenly shared. It is a fact of life. But this unevenness is ever-changing. None can peacefully sleep over with what one has at a particular point of time. Though a small minority rules over a particular system, yet its influence continues to change over time. Fortunately, computers and automation have come to their rescue.