Browsing by Subject "public opinion"

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  • Kangas, Jyrki; Loikkanen, Teppo; Pukkala, Timo; Pykäläinen, Jouni (The Society of Forestry in Finland - The Finnish Forest Research Institute, 1996)
    The paper examines the needs, premises and criteria for effective public participation in tactical forest planning. A method for participatory forest planning utilizing the techniques of preference analysis, professional expertise and heuristic optimization is introduced. The techniques do not cover the whole process of participatory planning, but are applied as a tool constituting the numerical core for decision support. The complexity of multi-resource management is addressed by hierarchical decision analysis which assesses the public values, preferences and decision criteria toward the planning situation. An optimal management plan is sought using heuristic optimization. The plan can further be improved through mutual negotiations, if necessary. The use of the approach is demonstrated with an illustrative example, it's merits and challenges for participatory forest planning and decision making are discussed and a model for applying it in general forest planning context is depicted. By using the approach, valuable information can be obtained about public preferences and the effects of taking them into consideration on the choice of the combination of standwise treatment proposals for a forest area. Participatory forest planning calculations, carried out by the approach presented in the paper, can be utilized in conflict management and in developing compromises between competing interests.
  • Wuokko, Maiju (2017)
    This article examines the political activity—specifically lobbying and PR efforts—of major Finnish business associations during the Cold War era (c. 1945–1991). The main motivation for business political activity was the threat of socialism and state intervention in their various forms. Based on a qualitative reading of archived documents, this article illustrates a shift from the fear of an outright revolution in the 1940s, through leftist radicalism and economic regulation in the 1970s, to the rise of environmentalism in the 1980s. Influencing efforts were targeted at both politicians and the general public but, towards the end of period studies, shaping public opinion became increasingly important. This article contributes to our knowledge on business-politics links and business political activity as historical phenomena. It points out compelling similarities in the political activity of business in various Western countries and suggests that they should be examined more thoroughly in future research.
  • Eigensperger, Nina Katarina (2001)
    The research object is Swiss public opinion on European integration, which is weighty in Switzerland due to one of the centrepieces of its political system: direct democracy. If the Swiss Federal Government's wants to adhere to collective security organisations or supranational communities, a mandatory referendum has to be held. The acceptance of such international treaties requires a double majority: a majority of the citizens and of the cantons. Until the 1990s Switzerland's foreign policy used to be characterised by encapsulation and conscious political abstinence. Therefore the number of foreign policy related plebiscites was nearly non-existent. Yet, since the Swiss Federal Government's strategic objective regarding its European integration policy became joining the European Union as a full member, public opinion is probably more important than ever before. The main objective of this research is to identify – within the given theoretical framework – the core factors that determine Swiss public opinion on Switzerland's potential membership in the European Union. The results of previous research have been rather controversial as to the kind of factors that are decisive: certain researchers assert that it is the anticipated economic impact of the market liberalisation on the voters' personal welfare that account for their voting behaviour, whereas others claim that socio-cultural factors (such as identity) determine Swiss citizens' voting decision. This study is a combination of descriptive and explanatory research. The principal research method is regression analysis as to account for the main objective of identifying the core factors. Cross tabulations were used for descriptive purposes. The results obtained from the empirical data – Swiss Eurobarometer 1999 – indicated that all three hypotheses proved to be robust when tested individually. Yet when all potentially decisive factors were examined simultaneously in one model, only three factors were clearly more important than the rest: federalism as a part of Swiss national identity and party identification with two of the four governmental parties (Social Democratic Party or Swiss People's Party). Hence, within the given framework, socio-cultural factors are considered to be more decisive than economic factors in determining Swiss citizens' support for membership in the European Union.
  • Pietiläinen, Jukka (2011)
    This article analyses the results of five Eurobarometer surveys (of 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2005) designed to measure which languages Europeans consider most useful to know. Most Europeans are of the opinion that English is the most useful, followed by French and German. During the last decade the popularity of French and German as useful languages has been decreasing significantly, while English has remained universally favoured as the most useful language. French and German have lost their popularity especially among those who do not speak them as a foreign language. On the other hand, Spanish, Russian and other languages (often these include languages of neighbouring countries, minority languages or a second official language of the country in question) have kept and even increased their former level of popularity. Opinions about useful languages vary according to a respondent’s knowledge of languages, education and profession. This article analyses these differences and discusses their impact on the study of foreign languages and the future of the practice of foreign languages in Europe.
  • Ruokolainen, Otto; Ollila, Hanna; Patja, Kristiina; Borodulin, Katja; Laatikainen, Tiina; Korhonen, Tellervo (2018)
    Aims: Finland has implemented a gradually tightening tobacco control policy for decades. Recently the objective of a tobacco-free Finland was introduced. Still, the population's acceptance of tobacco control policy has not been measured. More knowledge is needed on differences in attitudes and factors associated with tobacco control opinions for future policy-making. Methods: A population-based study with quantitative analysis. Attitudes on smoking and tobacco control policy were assessed within the National FINRISK 2012 Study in Finland involving 25-74-year-old adults (N = 4905). In analyses, smoking status groups were compared. Results: In general, attitudes differed systematically by smoking status. Differences increased or decreased when moving from never smokers to other smoking groups. Similarities in attitudes were found particularly on youth smoking, while differences between smoking groups were notable on statements regarding smoking on balconies and availability of tobacco products. The adjusted analysis showed that smoking status was most strongly associated with attitudes on different tobacco control policy measures. Daily smokers viewed stricter tobacco control policy and workplace smoking bans more negatively than others, though they viewed societal support for quitters and sufficiency of tobacco control policy more positively compared with others. Differences were vast compared with non-smokers, but also occasional smokers differed from daily smokers. Conclusions: Tightening tobacco control and workplace smoking bans were supported by the Finnish adult population, but societal support for quitters to a lesser extent. Attitude change, where smokers are seen as deserving help to quit smoking, is important.
  • Pyrhönen, Niko; Wahlbeck, Östen Ragnar (Technische Universität Chemnitz, 2018)
    CEASEVAL Research on the Common European Asylum System
    This report addresses the politicization of common European policy for refugee relocation, with particular focus on the question of responsibility for the so-called “refugee crisis”. As Finland faced the tenfold increase in the annual number of asylum seekers in 2015, public debate on the topic was rapidly electrified. The media attention culminated in September, when Finland decided as the only member state to abstain from voting on the issue of relocation. The decision was widely considered to be imposed on the Finnish government by the Eurosceptic, right-wing populist Finns party, whose path to the coalition government was paved with the party’s highly mediatized anti-immigration political rhetoric during the past decade. This report defines politicization as a practice of competitive claims-making in in the public sphere. Politicization is analyzed within two distinct corpora: a mainstream news corpus of 127 articles in Finland’s largest daily newspaper, and a parliamentary debates corpus consisting of 26 addresses by Finnish MPs to the floor during 10 plenary sessions. On the basis of quantitative and qualitative analysis, we conclude that while both arenas exerted strong influence on public opinion and heavily politicized the issue of refugee relocation, there are important differences in how the question of responsibility was framed within the two contexts. The articles published during the first episode of contention (March – November 2015) focus on the strife between Visegrád countries and other member states. The articles underline EU’s shortcomings in mediating the conflicted interests among member states, presenting Finland’s decision to abstain as tacit support to the bloc opposing common relocation mechanisms, and decrying the ensuing impact to Finland’s previously conciliatory reputation within the EU. On the other hand, the parliamentary debates taking place in the turn of the year are largely dominated by Finns party MPs. The debates emphasize Finland’s sovereign responsibility to prevent crime and protect the autochthonous population’s welfare from irregular migration, often framed in terms of “illegal refugees.” While refugees plight is repeatedly presented as the responsibility of the sending countries, the MPs commonly assert that the EU is responsible for letting in “the wave of refugees”.
  • Pietiläinen, Jukka; Strovsky, Dmitry (2010)
    This article analyses support for censorship in Russia as part of the democratization process. Censorship has been an important part of Russian history and it was strengthened during the Soviet era. After the collapse of the Soviet system formal censorship was banned even though the reality has been different. Therefore it is not strange that many Russians would like to limit the freedom of the media and to censor certain topics. The views of Russians on censorship have been studied on the basis of a survey carried out in 2007. According to the results, three different dimensions of censorship were found. These dimensions include moral censorship, political censorship, and censorship of religious materials. Support for these dimensions varies on the basis of socio-demographic characteristics and media use. The article concludes that many Russians reject new phenomena, while support for the censorship of political criticism is not as high, but political censorship seems to enjoy more support among elites than among the common people.
  • Salminen, Otto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The thesis sheds light on European Union´s attempts to increase the voting turn out and decrease democratic deficit in the European Parliament elections by focusing on Spitzenkandidaten process, a reform implemented the first time in the 2014 elections. Still, in the spring 2018, the Spitzenkandidaten process is under discussion on the EU level whether it should be applied also in the future elections when the new parliament and the new President for Commision will be elected. The research has aimed to produce essential and topical information for the decision makers when making up one´s minds whether to support or not to support the reform. The research takes a closer look on the EU citizens´ views and public opinion on the process. The theories and criticism of earlier research are applied and tested by studying three research questions. The research questions are formulated as follows: 1) To what extent the attitudes towards the European Union explains whether the Spitzenkandidaten process is or is not considered to represent progress for democracy within the EU among the citizens´ of the Union? 2) To what extent the position on the scale of political left and political right explains the attitudes towards the Spitzenkandidaten process among the citizens´ of the Union? 3) To what extent the level of awareness about the processes of decision making in the European Union explains whether the Spitzenkandidaten process is or is not considered to represent progress for democracy within the EU among the citizens´ of the Union? The data studied in this thesis contains the data set of the Parlemeter of the European Parliament (EB/EP 82.4). The data was processed and analyzed with SPSS version 24 (SPSS Inc., Chicago IL). The results of the ordinal regression analysis show that more a person thinks his/her country's membership of the EU is a good thing, the more likely person is willing to think that the Spitzenkandidaten process represents progress for democracy. In addition, image on the EU has statistically significant relation with the attitude towards the Spitzenkandidaten process. The better image of the EU a person has, the more likely person is willing to think that the Spitzenkandidaten process represents progress for democracy. The ordinal regression analysis shows that the citizens` position on the scale of political "left" and "right" does not explain statistically significantly the attitudes towards the Spitzenkandidaten process among the citizens´ of the Union. According to the ordinal regression analysis, the better level of political awareness, both objectively and subjectively measured, the more likely person is willing to think Spitzenkandidaten process to represent progress for democracy. This research and its findings emphasize the role of political awareness as one of key elements to focus on when combating the democratic deficit in the European Union. The finding of this research support the findings in earlier research: Democratic deficit occurs until the EU-citizens understand how the Union effect on their lives (Wass 2014: 37). To be able to form opinions about the innovations like Spitzenkandidaten process in the future, citizens would need to be better informed about the reforms. More focus should be given to the active communication between the EU decision makers and the citizens.
  • Hytönen, Outi (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    This thesis deals with public opinion of the decision making concerning forest policy in Finland. The data used was part of a nationwide mail survey examining the perceptions of the legitimacy of forest policy and its predictors in Finland. The data comprised of the answers to the question “What would you like to focus on in the decision making concerning forest use?”. The answers were analysed using inductive content analysis. The topics from the data were categorised under four themes: values, political decision-making, actors and practises. Based on the answers forests are regarded as multifunctional and the different value conceptions are equally respected. However, the existing value conflict between economic and ecological values was evident. The forest policy cannot be legitimised only on the basis of economic use of the forest resources. The biodiversity, nature protection and the recreational benefits of the forests must also be taken into account according the citizens. The results were analysed in the light of the goals and procedures set in the main documents of the Finnish forest policy. The aim was to compare the similarities and differences between current forest policy and citizens’ perspectives, and to find out if one can make any judgements about the acceptability and legitimacy of the forest policy. In general, citizens know what is included in forest policy decisionmaking, and the opinions are consistent with current policy. Certain forestry actions and forest owners’ decision-making power are the main points of conflict. Clear cuttings and especially the objection of them was the most essential topic in the data. This is against the prevailing forestry practises, since clear cuttings are the most used method in final felling. Citizens suggest alternative forestry practises like thinning and uneven-age management to be used in the felling of timber. According to the results concerning political decision making the main conflict arises from forest owners’ participation possibilities and the distribution of power. The procedural justice of the forest policy is not fully justified and legitimate, since citizens feel forest owners have too little decision-making power on their own forest property.