HS poll suggests just 32 % of Finns will vote in European Parliament elections
National Coalition Party supporters losing interest, while only one in eight young people decalre they are certain to vote
A recent study commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by Suomen Gallup indicates that the eagerness of Finnish citizens to vote in the June elections seems to be declining compared with the expectations of the previous Euro elections, while the share of those who are unlikely to vote has correspondingly increased.
According to the study, just 32 % of all Finns of voting age report that they are certain about voting in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Some 27% said they were "unlikely to vote", and a further 8% stated categorically that they would be staying at home.
The survey shows further that the percentage of those Finns who are certain to cast ballots has declined in almost all groups, while the phenomenon of low voting activity is particularly detectable among young people, students, and entrepreneurs.
Moreover, the number of young voters aged 18 to 24 has dropped by as much as 6%-points.
Five years ago, the figure in a similar study was just 19% for this age-group, and now it has tumbled to an even more parlous 13% - only one in eight Finns between the ages of 18-24 considers it certain that they will cast a ballot in June.
Among occupational groups, the percentage of certain voters has grown only among farmers.
”The main message of the study is that all political parties have to work really hard in order to persuade their own supporters to go out and vote”, estimates political researcher Dr. Sami Borg.
When it comes to the supporters of political parties, the eagerness to vote seems to have fallen most among the supporters of the National Coalition Party (down from 52% to 42%), the Green League, and the Left Alliance (from 52% to 45%), while the percentage of "certain" voters among the supporters of the Centre Party has actually increased, albeit only marginally.
In spite of the decreased voting activity, the supporters of the Left Alliance and the National Coalition Party continue to be the most certain voters.
Based on the study, the most certain voters live in the Greater Helsinki area (38 %) and in the surrounding province of Uusimaa (36 %), even though the percentage of certain voters has fallen in both areas.
Among the highly educated voters, more than half (55 %) are certain voters, while out of those with secondary level or vocational school education only 24 % were certain about voting.
Moreover, those in the upper-bracket income groups are more active voters than those in the low-income groups.
The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,406 Finns of voting age in mainland Finland taken between the 22nd of April and the 6th of May.
The margin of error is some 2.5 %-points either way.
The question asked:
”European Parliament elections will be held in Finland on June 7th, while advance voting begins on May 27th and ends on June 2nd. How certain are you about voting in the upcoming European Parliament elections?”
In 2004, the overall turnout for the European Parliament elections was 39.4%. If only voters actually living in Finland are considered, the figure was 41.1%.
This marked a sizeable increase from the nadir of the 1999 elections, when barely 30% cast a vote.
In 1996, when the EU elections were held on the same day as municipal elections, the figure was appreciably higher, at 57.6%.
This high turnout was probably also due in part to the novelty of the event - Finland only joined the EU in 1995.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Is voter apathy becoming hereditary? (30.9.2008)
HS Gallup: Finns´ eagerness to vote seems to be increasing (16.2.2007)
No protests this time over pre-election polls (30.10.2008)
What interests Finns in EU is work, living, money, and moving around (6.5.2009)
Poll: National Coalition Party and Greens have closest internal race in European Parliament elections (5.5.2009)
Ministry of Justice: European Elections on 7 June 2009