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FSD2272 Finnish Local Government 2004: Inhabitants 2000
Helander, Voitto (Åbo Akademi University)
Pekola-Sjöblom, Marianne (Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities)
Sjöblom, Stefan (University of Helsinki. Swedish School of Social Science)
Keywords: associations, attitudes, candidates, citizenship, elected officials, elections, housing, local government, local government elections, local government policy, municipalities, participation, place of residence, political allegiance, political participation, politics, public services, regional identity, residential areas, social influence, voluntary organizations, voting, voting behaviour
This survey studies the inhabitants' opinions on their municipalities and municipal services, as well as their political participation and influencing.
The respondents were asked how likely they will live in their current municipality of residence for the rest of their lives. They were also asked whether they considered their municipality a good place to live compared to other municipalities, and to what extent they identified with their neighbourhood, municipality, region, country, the Nordic countries, the EU, and Europe on the whole.
Views were probed on which municipal services (public services) the respondents had used in the last 12 months, how well certain municipal services functioned, and whether the municipality should invest more or less in these services.
The respondents were asked whether they had been elected to any office in their municipality, and whether they would be willing to hold an elected office. Voting behaviour was investigated by asking the respondents whether they had voted in the 2000 municipal elections, whether they had voted for a female or male candidate, and which political party they had voted for. The respondents were also asked to assess the significance of the party or the person in making the voting decision. Party loyalty was investigated by asking whether the respondents always voted for a particular party, or whether they changed the party they vote for between different elections.
The respondents gave their views on a set of attitudinal statements related to organising different services and administration, as well as membership and participation in non-governmental organisations and associations. Political participation was studied by asking the respondents whether they had used certain methods of influencing decision-making (e.g. taking part in demonstrations, signing petitions, contacting decision-makers), and by asking them to rate the effectiveness of these methods. The respondents were also asked whether they had followed current issues concerning their municipality in the media or visited the web pages of their municipality. Further questions covered whether the respondents had given feedback on public services in their municipality and whether the eventual feedback had been countered.
Finally, the respondents were asked to evaluate their own abilities to interact with their municipality and to defend their own interests, to assess how integral certain aspects are to the idea of citizenship (e.g. paying taxes honestly, obeying the law and regulations, sacrificing personal interest for the common good, respecting public property, membership in a political party), and to give their opinions on decision-making in their municipality of residence.
Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, marital status, number of children, education, employment type, and tenure. Background variables not asked in the questionnaire included the respondent's mother tongue, and the year of moving into the respondent's current municipality of residence.