FSD2295 Voice of the Inhabitants 2007
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- Ekholm, Peter (Think Tank e2)
- Jutila, Karina (Think Tank e2)
- Kiljunen, Pentti (Yhdyskuntatutkimus)
citizen participation, local government, local government elections, party identification, political awareness, political influence, political interest, voting
The survey focused on studying the possible causes of the declining voter turnout in municipal elections (local government elections) in Finland. First, the respondents were asked how interested they were in local affairs and local government policies, how actively did they follow local affairs and decision-making, and how well they knew what was happening. The respondents were also asked to grade their municipality of residence from different viewpoints (e.g. finances, services, employment situation, local democracy, citizen participation and influence). One question surveyed how much real power certain bodies, e.g. the mayor/municipal manager, top officials, municipal board, banks, trade unions, have in the municipality. Further questions covered information sources on local affairs and decision-making, and the sufficiency and quality of information received.
The respondents were asked to evaluate how effective certain ways of trying to influence decision-making were (e.g. voting in municipal elections, inhabitant surveys, local referendums, peaceful demonstrations, signing petitions, direct contacts to decision-makers). The respondents were also asked whether they felt they could influence decisions affecting their neighbourhood, municipality, Finland or the EU. Opinions on the causes of the decline in turnout were charted. Causes mentioned included distrust of politics and parties, protest against current policies, feeling that voting has no impact on policies, lack of choice because parties too similar etc. The respondents were asked whether they were stable or volatile voters, whether they had voted in the last Finnish parliamentary elections, local government elections, and European Parliament elections, and whether there had been changes in their voting activity.
Further questions covered the respondents' participation in civil and voluntary organisations and in local affairs. Opinions were probed on whether Internet voting would influence turnout, and which factors might increase or decrease citizen participation in local government. The respondents were also asked whether they held or had held any elected offices and to what extent they agreed with a number of statements relating to political parties and local government politics.
Background variables included the respondent's gender, age group, number of inhabitants in the municipality, region of residence (NUTS3), basic and vocational education, type of neighbourhood, economic activity and occupational status, and what political party R would vote for if the Finnish parliamentary elections were held at that time.
Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format
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