FSD3528 Finnish Citizens' Civic Attitudes 2019

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Authors

  • Åbo Akademi University. Social Science Research Institute

Keywords

attitudes, citizen participation, citizenship, climate change, decision making, democracy, political participation, politics, social influence, trust, voting behaviour

Abstract

The survey studied Finnish citizens' civic attitudes and views on politics. Main themes of the survey included voting behaviour, civic participation, political decision-making, and trust in institutions and other people. The survey was conducted as part of the Participation in Long-Term Decision-Making (PALO) research project. The project was funded by the Academy of Finland's Strategic Research Council (project numbers 312671 and 312676).

First, the respondents were asked whether they had voted in the previous parliamentary elections and which party had they voted for. The respondents' interest in politics and their knowledge about politics and social issues were investigated, and they were asked to identify their alignment on a left-right political spectrum. Civic participation was surveyed by asking the respondents whether during the previous 12 months they had, for example, contacted a politician, been part of political party or group, signed a petition, or taken part in a demonstration. The respondents' views on civic participation in Finland were charted with questions on whether increased civic participation would have a positive impact on Finnish democracy and whether citizens should be given more avenues to take part in public decision-making. Opinions on the use of citizens' forums as a part of the public decision-making process were also investigated.

The respondents' views on long-term decision making in politics were examined with questions on, for example, whether politics should focus more on solving current day issues instead of future challenges, whether political decision-making should be based on public will as expressed through election results rather than expert opinions that are more future-oriented, and whether political decision-makers should be able to make quick decisions even if there was not enough time to establish their long-term consequences. The respondents' satisfaction with the state of democracy in Finland and their trust in in public institutions (e.g. the parliament, judicial system, politicians, political parties, the European Union) and other people were also charted.

The survey also included questions on climate change. The respondents were asked how worried they were about climate change and whether they would be ready to reduce their own standard of living to slow down climate change. The respondents were also asked to estimate how ready people in Finland in general would be reduce to their standard of living to combat climate change.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's gender, year of birth, the highest education attained, marital status, degree of religiosity, gross annual income, economic activity, and degree of urbanisation of R's neighourbood.

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