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FSD2653 Finnish National Election Study 2011

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Authors

  • Borg, Sami (University of Tampere. Finnish Social Science Data Archive)
  • Grönlund, Kimmo (Åbo Akademi University. Social Science Research Institute)

Keywords

Internet, election campaigns, elections, parliamentary candidates, parliamentary elections, party identification, personality traits, political allegiance, political attitudes, political awareness, political influence, political interest, political leaders, political participation, political support, trust, voting, voting advice applications

Abstract

The survey focused on the 2011 parliamentary elections in Finland. Main themes included political participation, political attitudes, party support, candidate and party choice and voting behaviour. Data were collected after the elections through face-to-face interviews and a self-administered drop-off questionnaire. The interview data contain Finland's contribution to the international CSES study. The same CSES module was fielded in Finland in 2007 (see FSD2269).

First questions covered interest in politics, attention to media coverage of the elections (including social media), Internet use frequency, willingness to discuss politics with others, party identification and self-perceived social class. The respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with some statements relating to voting, democracy, holding referendums and tolerance of people with different values or views. Willingness to influence things by own activity (for instance, by participating in a demonstration or joining a consumer boycott) was charted. Further questions covered membership in a political party, participation in election campaign work and opinions on whom a MP should represent. The survey also carried a set of attitudinal statements on voting, politics, political parties, politicians and public political influence. For instance 'I have no say in what the government and parliament decide' or 'By voting people can have a say how things are run'.

The CSES module explored what issues had been important to the respondents in these elections, what they thought were the most important political problems facing Finland and whether it made a difference who was in power or who people voted for. Views were probed on government performance, political parties, political leaders and whether any party or political leader represented R's views well. The respondents were asked to place themselves, the parties and party leaders on a left-right axis. Questions also covered differences between parties, the extent to which the respondents had followed election campaigning, satisfaction with democracy in Finland and whether they felt close to any party. Voting behaviour was studied with questions on whether the respondents had voted, the candidate of which party they had voted for, whether they had considered voting for a candidate of any other party and if yes, which party, whether they had voted in the previous parliamentary elections and which party they voted for. Finally, the respondents' factual knowledge was tested with a few questions.

Non-voters were asked why they had not voted and how self-evident not voting had been to them. Those who had voted for the True Finns were asked to what extent a number of issues had influenced their decision to vote for a candidate of that party and what had been the main reason. All those who had voted were asked what had influenced their choice of party, to what extent various issues had influenced their candidate choice, whether they had voted for the same candidate before and when had they decided whom and which party to vote for. One question explored how the respondents wanted MPs to vote in Parliament in cases where there was a conflict of opinion between them, their party or their voters. One theme pertained to trust in government and other institutions, groups and people.

The self-administered questionnaire surveyed what issues had been decisive for the respondents' party choice in the elections, opinions on what kind of policies Finland should focus on and what kind of political decision-making the respondents would prefer. Views were probed on work-related immigration to Finland and the policies of different parties on the issue. One question focused on information sources used for making voting choice. Political activities carried out on the Internet and type of activities generally engaged in when using social media and the Internet were charted. Other topics covered online voting, views on the importance of the candidate's gender and how easy it had been for the respondents to find a suitable party and candidate. The respondents were also asked to what extent they agreed with a number of statements relating to Members of Parliament, the government and political decision-making. Opinions on Finland's membership in the EU and NATO were surveyed as well as whether it was more important to let the majority decide or protect the needs and rights of minorities. Other topics included views on own financial situation and the Finnish economy and employment situation, left-right scale of certain concepts (e.g. being pro-immigration) and influence of a number of actors on the Finnish society. The effects of the debate on election campaign funding were charted as well as how the debate had influence the respondents' views of each political party. Finally, personality traits of the respondents were surveyed using the Ten-item personality inventory (TIPI).

Variables beginning with 'k' are national election study variables, 'q' denotes CSES variables, 'p' denotes variables from the self-administered questionnaire, 'a' denotes CSES administrative variables and 'd' denotes background variables.

Background variables included the respondent's year of birth, gender, basic and vocational education, marital status, trade union membership, daily television viewing, economic activity, occupational status, employer type, annual household income, number and ages of persons in the household, R's religiosity, religious affiliation, mother tongue, type of neighbourhood, housing tenure and constituency.

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