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FSD1195 EU Membership Referendum in Finland 1994

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Authors

  • Pesonen, Pertti (University of Tampere)
  • Sänkiaho, Risto (University of Tampere)

Keywords

European Union, European integration, defence and state security policy, political action, political behaviour, political interest, political participation, referendums, values, voting, voting behaviour

Abstract

The survey studied Finnish political participation and attitudes to the EU membership referendum pre- and post-referendum. Other questions examined what respondents thought of referendums on the whole, what were their political leanings and attitudes to different groups (e.g. refugees, police, certain nationalities).

Respondents stated their views on e.g. exercising influence by voting, decision-makers' attitudes to voters, the need to supervise industry and commerce, immigration, equality between men and women and income disparity. They were asked about maintaining the traditional Finnish values, scaling down the public sector, restricting women's right to abortion and increasing the price of alcoholic beverages. Some questions dealt with the level of confidence in politicians, the position of Finnish parties on the left-right axis and the most important objectives of political activity.

The survey queried how often respondents read about political and foreign affairs in the newspaper, watched news or current affairs programmes on the television or listened to Finnish Broadcasting Company's (YLE) radio news. Respondents were asked whether the media had affected their opinion of Finland's EU membership, how important the membership was to them and would they have preferred to leave the decision to the government and parliament. The opinions of the respondents' friends and relatives on EU membership were examined. Respondents were asked how interested and how well informed they were of EU issues, what was their stand on Finland's membership and did they intend to vote in the referendum.

Respondents' views on the consequences of EU membership on various matters, e.g. Finland's environment, economic life, employment, agriculture, social security, equality, military security, national independence and living conditions were also surveyed. The final themes explored opinions about Finland's foreign policy, policy of neutrality, armed defence, armed forces financing and EU's effect on Finland's security situation. Background variables included knowledge of foreign languages, income, education, gender and region of residence.

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