HS candidate selection engine data indicate that only Christian Democrats are vehemently against gay marriages
The responses of the users of the candidate selection engine lay stress on the stands of city residents under the age of 35
Only three per cent of the supporters of the Christian Democrats think that homosexuals and heterosexuals should be treated equally by the Marriage Act.
Instead, 93 per cent of those who vote for the Greens say that the Marriage Act should be the same for all.
The extreme difference in opinions across party lines was revealed by the responses of the users of the candidate selection engine (Vaalikone) on the webpages of Helsingin Sanomat.
By Thursday last week, the number of people who had used the candidate selection engine was 60,800, more than half of whom - as many as 39,300 - had also given their background information, including party affiliation.
On the basis of this data, Helsingin Sanomat calculated how the opinions of the users have been divided, for example when it comes to the question:”Are you in favour of a gender-neutral Marriage Act?”
There were four alternatives to the question. According to the strictest stand, no amendments shoud be proposed to the existing law in order to increase the rights of same-sex couples.
According to the most liberal opinion, the law has to be the same for all regardless of the gender or sexual orientation.
Among the respondents, only Christian Democrats vehemently oppose all efforts to improve the rights of gays.
The second strictest are the supporters of the True Finns, but at the same time, as many as 23 per cent of them are also of the opinion that the law should be the same for all.
In addition, 16 per cent of the True Finns supporters say that the law must be the same for all, but the term ”marriage” should be used only of a union between a man and a woman.
When it comes to the supporters of the Centre party, the corresponding figures were 36 per cent and 20 per cent.
In the other parties, the clear majority - about 58 to 93% - of supporters are in favour of absolute gender-neutral marriage with equal rights.
When looking at the statistics produced by the HS candidate selection machine, director Juhani Pehkonen of TNS Gallup draws attention to the fact that three response groups have a distinct over-representation with respect to the party affiliations held by the entire population.
These groups are the Left Alliance, the Greens, and those who say that their party affiliation is ”other”.
In other words, the composition of respondents is not consistent with the numbers of supporters of most other parties.
In fact, the National Coalition Party is the only party that has the equivalent number of respondents commensurate with their support in the country as a whole.
In the case of the Centre Party, for instance, there would need to be nearly two and a half times as many respondents as the data revealed.
Pehkonen also points out that as many as 30 per cent of respondents live in Helsinki.
Another observation skewing the results is that the numbers of the younger age-groups among respondents are huge.
”This sample represents those individuals who are more active than average, those who have already found time to use the candidate selection engine”, Pelkonen estimated.
The election of the President of the Republic of Finland will be held in January 2012. Election day is January 22nd, 2012. Advance voting in Finland: January 11th to 17th.
If no candidate (among the eight declared hopefuls) secures more than 50% of the votes, a second round run-off between the two strongest candidates will be held two weeks later.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Same sex marriage initiative faces uphill battle in Parliament (23.11.2011)
Poll: Lipponen stuck at seven per cent in presidential race (29.11.2011)
COLUMN: Smile, candidates - the selection engine is taking your picture (4.1.2011)
Widespread support within Parliamentary parties for gender-neutral marriage (13.4.2010)
Helsingin Sanomat Candidate Selection Engine (in Finnish)
HS candidate selection engine gives clues on attitudes of new Finnish Parliament (18.4.2011)
Value questions split large parties (12.4.2011)
Presidential Elections 2012