FSD Bulletin

Issue 33 (2/2011)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
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Finnish National Election Study 2011

Hannele Keckman-Koivuniemi

After the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2011, Finnish election researchers conducted the third national election study in Finland. FSD coordinated the study financed by the Ministry of Justice. The main report will be published in early 2012 after which the data, archived at the FSD, will be available for re-use.

The 2011 elections were considered to be protest elections and their outcome was somewhat unexpected. There are now four major parties in Finland instead of the traditional three. Even though the National Coalition Party emerged as the biggest party, the real winner of the election was the True Finns party (after a name change, the Finns). The Finns are now the third biggest party, having gained 19% of the votes, compared to the 4% in the last vote. As a rule, from election to election the Finnish parties' electoral support only varies a few percentage points at most.

Democracy fared well: the voter turnout (70.5%) was a bit higher than in three previous parliamentary elections. Of the MPs, 85 (42.5%) are women, one more than in previous Parliament.

National election studies from the year 2003

National elections studies are large, nationally representative surveys, often carried out in connection with parliamentary elections. The U.S, Sweden and Norway have the longest tradition of such studies, conducted ever since the 1940/50s.

Finland had carried out panel election surveys from the 1950s but large, representative national election studies have only been conducted from the 2003 parliamentary elections onwards. The main themes are repeated each time and include political participation, political attitudes, party support, candidate and party choice, voting, election campaigns and campaign financing. Each round also includes questions on current issues.

The year 2011 data

The 2011 data (FSD2653, forthcoming) contain new questions on work-related immigration, reasons for voting for the True Finns and the related candidate choice, and the impact of the election campaign financing debate. Social media use, voting choices, expectations and trust were charted with more questions than previously.

The data were collected by Taloustutkimus through face-to-face interviews. There was also a drop-off paper questionnaire which the interviewees filled in and returned later. Altogether, 1298 persons were interviewed, of whom 75 were Swedish-speaking Finns. The face-to-face data also contain Finland's part of the cross-national Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES 3). Finland has participated in the CSES project since 2002. At present, Sami Borg (FSD) and Kimmo Grönlund (Åbo Akademi University) are responsible for the Finnish CSES data.

Election studies popular

National election studies belong to the most popular datasets archived at the FSD. They have been used for research and teaching, both in Finland and abroad. The archive routinely translates the study descriptions and the data itself into English for the use of non-Finnish users.

FSD collections also include other studies covering the 2011 elections. FSD2673 Parliamentary Elections 2011 contains some of the same questions as the National Election Study [forthcoming]. Data were collected through telephone interviews from both Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking Finns. FSD2630 Follow-up on Parliamentary Elections is also relevant [forthcoming].

Other election data cover, for instance, candidate and user responses to candidate selectors and information on the election funding of candidates selected to Parliament.

» FSD data catalogue
» Finnish Election Study Consortium