Marginally more people against merging of Helsinki with neighbouring
Espoo residents most opposed to idea of large metropolis
The idea of combining the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen into a single metropolis divides local people's opinions nearly down the middle. The scale tips in favour of those against the idea, but only slightly.
According to a fresh survey, 46 percent of the capital area residents oppose the notion, while 44 percent welcome the idea of a joint municipality.
Espoo residents are most staunchly opposed to the idea. Only 36 percent of them would prefer to merge their city with Helsinki and other municipalities in the capital area. The percentage of those against the idea is 56, while eight percent remain undecided.
Vantaa residents, in turn, were most sympathetic to the idea. Half of them would support the fusing of the communities. The percentages of the objectors and the undecided are 40 and 10 respectively.
In Helsinki itself, the percentage of those in favour of the merger is 46, while 43 percent object to it. The percentage of those undecided is 11.
The survey was commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat and conducted by the market research company Suomen Gallup. Over one thousand residents over the age of 18 from Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa were interviewed.
The opinions of Espoo and Vantaa residents are similar to those of their town councillors, who were asked the same question towards the end of last year. Of Vantaa decision-makers, 47 percent were for the possible merger, while in Espoo the corresponding figure was a mere 22 percent.
In Helsinki, no less than 78 percent of the town councillors are ready to unite the cities.
In the poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat, older respondents are clearly more supportive of the idea of merging the capital area municipalities. Every second respondent over the age of 64 is in favour of the merger while of those between the ages of 18 and 24 only 27 percent give their support to the idea.
Among supporters of various political parties there are no dramatic differences between the shares of supporters of and objectors to a single metropolis, except within the Swedish People's Party, where the scale tips in favour of the objectors by 16 percentage points.
Supporters of the Centre Party take the most approving stand towards the merger. Of them, 50 percent are in favour of the united metropolis, while 44 percent disapprove of the idea.
Women are appreciably less inclined towards a merger than their male counterparts. Only 38 percent of women approve the idea, while a slim majority (51 percent) of the men are in favour.