Parliamentary elections Parliamentary election survey: The majority of Finns do not trust the election promises of any party – “it is good that the promises of those in power are not taken as truth,” says the researcher

“It’s just good that those in power are suspected and their promises are not taken as full truth. It would be more worrying if one hundred percent said they trusted them, ”says Juha Ylisalo, a specialist researcher.


Parties and the candidates ’election promises don’t have a very faded reputation yet, but now a recent study proves that citizens have very little confidence in the promises.

Before the parliamentary elections, virtually every party publishes an election program, which, in addition to the party’s general objectives, sometimes includes detailed records of the measures it believes should be taken in the coming election period.

Politics One sub-study of the extensive 2019 parliamentary election survey describing “climate change” shows that the majority, ie more than 60 percent of Finns, agree with the statement that “one party can never trust the election promises of any party”.

The proportion of skeptics is high given the strength of the argument. After all, it has the expressions “never” and “any party”. That is, even in my own opinion, the best party’s assurances about a better future are not very believable.

Men are more skeptical than women, and of the occupational groups, retirees have the most lack of trust. On the left-right axis of politics, the most common distrust is in the political center.

At least the promises of some party are most trusted by highly educated, high-income and entrepreneurs.

“Election promises Doubt is a universal, ie global, phenomenon, and it does not tell about the shortcomings of Finnish democracy, but rather about a certain kind of awareness of Finns, ”says the specialist researcher who conducted the study. Juha Ylisalo From the University of Turku.

“It’s just good that those in power are suspected and their promises are not taken as full truth. It would be more worrying if one hundred percent said they trusted them, ”Ylisalo estimates.

The widespread skepticism of citizens towards political promises seems to be one of the typical features of representative democracy, Ylisalo says.

According to Ylisalo, on the other hand, research has repeatedly shown that election promises, however, have a strong impact on political content. Often it is possible to classify the clear majority of government party promises as fulfilled.

The realization of election promises is affected by, among other things, how many parties there are in the government and what the economic situation is. Fulfilling a promise is not always the best option if circumstances change drastically during an election period.

Concrete monitoring the redemption or breach of promises can be demanding for citizens, for example due to a lack of information.

In connection with the 2019 parliamentary election survey, Ylisalo asked citizens how they felt about the Prime Minister Juha Sipilän the (central) government had fulfilled more detailed promises that had been in the programs of the center, the Coalition Party or the basic Finns / blues.

It turned out that it was quite difficult for citizens to understand how individual election promises had gone. The easiest to remember were large, much-publicized issues, such as the reform of social and health services.

Defendant could consider the promise fulfilled if the party had acted to fulfill the promise, even if the promised change had not occurred.

Although, for example, the war that had just been prepared for a long time failed spectacularly in the final meters of the government, many respondents considered that the Coalition’s model of freedom to choose services had been at least partially realized.

The promise of a tax rate was the only one that the clear majority considered at least partially fulfilled, as had happened. Still, there were enough hesitants.

“Total tax rate In substantive issues such as a reduction, it is possible that the defendant considers that the promise has not been redeemed unless, in his opinion, the tax rate has decreased sufficiently, ”says Ylisalo.

According to Ylisalo, such voting decisions, which may be based on skewed thinking, are likely to weaken the importance of elections as guarantors of the accountability of decision-makers.

According to Ylisalo, based on the analysis carried out, it is not possible to comprehensively assess how much of the election promises of Finnish parties are realized at all, but it is clear that they often advance into government programs and legislation.

For example, the current government’s program included a tightening of the care guarantee, which was in the programs of the SDP and the Left Alliance. Instead, the increase in the household tax deduction promised by the RKP was reversed in the government’s program, ie to reduce the deduction.

Thursday An extensive research report on the 2019 parliamentary elections has been published by a group of more than 30 election researchers from the University of Helsinki, the University of Tampere and Åbo Akademi University.

The study describes “political climate change,” meaning new dividing lines in politics, fragmentation of the party field, and diversification of political identity.

The basic material in the study was interviews conducted after the 2019 parliamentary elections, which were attended by about 1,600 people. The Fifth Consecutive Parliamentary Election Survey was now published, the first data of which were reported as early as summer 2019.

According to the study, the last parliamentary elections now emphasized, among other things, the large proportion of women MPs, the achievement of the position of the largest party and the use of the network in campaigning.


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