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Risk perceptions across the current political spectrum in Finland: a study of party members


Political party member perceptions of risk continue to attract a great deal of attention in current public discourse and media coverage, yet little research exists in terms of a comparative analysis of Finnish political parties’ views on the issue. Party members are in many ways a highly significant social group, one that exercises a great deal of decision-making power in modern civil societies. This article provides a novel and up-to-date look into the key areas of perceived risk held by the members of Finland’s political parties, in addition to a comparison of inter-party differences and similarities. The analysis is based on a unique survey data-set of the members of Finland’s six major political parties (N = 12,427). Included are the Finns Party, Centre Party, Left Alliance, Social Democratic Party, Green League and National Coalition Party. Together, these represent the political spectrum in Finland. Risk factors included primary categories dealing with various national, institutional, cultural and economic issues. Also included in the analysis was a look into whether length of party membership affects risk concern for the included issues. Findings showed that national and external risks were more of a concern for the Finns Party, while the Left and the Social Democrats considered economic issues a greater risk than did others. Furthermore, economic risk was most concerning to the left while external risks were generally viewed in line with the current centre-right administration. Some notable differences between old and new party members were also found. Findings emphasize the importance of understanding how political party members differ in their views of various societal risks while providing new points of comparison between those parties toward improved clarity of the national political landscape.

Keywords: Risk perception, Finland, Political party membership, Survey research


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