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FSD2273 Finnish Local Government 2004: Inhabitants 2004
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' views on their municipalities, municipal services, and decision-makers. Views were also probed on the different ways of participation and influencing, as well as on the level of political and civic activity.
The respondents' opinions on how likely they will live in their current municipality of residence for the rest of their lives were charted. They were also asked whether they considered their municipality a good place to live compared to other municipalities.
The respondents were asked to what extent they identified with their neighbourhood, municipality, region, country, the Nordic countries, the EU, and Europe on the whole. Political inclinations were surveyed by asking the respondents to place themselves on the left-right axis and on the hard-soft scale. The survey also charted the respondents' satisfaction with their lives, economic situation, and housing. The respondents were asked to evaluate their own abilities to interact with their municipality and to defend their own interests.
The respondents were asked which municipal services (public services) they 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 in the future.
The respondents were also asked whether they had been elected to any office in their municipality, and whether they would be willing to hold an elected office. Political views and activity were investigated by asking the respondents whether they were going to vote in the 2004 municipal elections, whether they were going to vote for a female or male candidate, which party they were going to vote for, and whether they change the party they vote for between different elections. Relating to voting decision, the respondents were asked to rate the importance of the person, the party, and the fact that the candidate lives in the same municipality.
Methods and activity of influencing decision-making were studied by asking the respondents 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. The respondents were asked whether they had used certain methods of influencing decision-making (e.g. taking part in demonstrations, signing petitions, contacting decision-makers). They were also asked to rate the effectiveness of these methods. Membership and participation in non-governmental organisations and associations was also queried. Finally, the respondents gave their views on a set of attitudinal statements related to organising different services and administration. In addition, they were asked 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).
Background variables included the respondent's year of birth, gender, number of underage children, education, employment type, employer, and tenure. Background variables not asked in the questionnaire included the respondent's marital status and mother tongue.