Takaisin

#opiskelijanturvana: Who will UAS students vote for in the upcoming elections?

The Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, SAMOK, funded a research about the values and attitudes. The research says approximately 80% of UAS students will vote in the upcoming parliamentary election. 5% of the sample group are not going to use their most valuable civil right. Why is that 5% not going to vote? Many of them can’t find a suitable candidate or have no political opinion, some even believe voting won’t make a difference.

Finding a suitable candidate is not difficult, even though 49% of the people who said they won’t vote thought so. There are multiple voting advice applications available online, interviews on the TV, and parties like Helga organize panel discussions for the candidates. If you don’t stress too much about selecting a political party and plainly focus on finding a suitable individual to vote for, you will find a candidate for sure. Voting advice applications can take as little as 5 minutes, and they give a very clear picture of which candidates share your views and values. 23% of the sample group feels they don’t have a political opinion, and don’t vote because of that. Political jargon can be difficult to understand. The easiest solution is to find a cause close to you, and figure out where you stand on that. An example of such cause might be fighting the climate change, domestic food production, or joining Nato.

The research also finds that the political parties UAS students favour the most are the Green League, the National Coalition Party, and the Left Alliance. The Greens received a 35% support from the sample group. There’s a clear difference from the UAS students compared to the national statistics, as the Green League has a national support of 12,9% (Uusi Suomi 16.1.2019). The Left Alliance got a 14% support in the research (9,4% on national level) and the National Coalition Party got a 13% support (19,5% on national level).

Opinions and values play a huge role in students’ candidate choice. The second most important factor is their political party, and the third is sensible economic policy. Superficial factors, such as looks, show no significance.

Based on the research we can imagine two hypothetical people, who portray the average UAS students: Annie the UAS student and Andy the UAS student. Annie is 25 years old student of social work/health/sports with high school background. She’s leftist liberal, and votes for the Greens. Andy, on the other hand, is 26 years old, had a background from either high school or vocational school, and is now studying in the field of technology. He’s a right conservative, and votes for either the National Coalition or the Finns Party. However, as the diversity of students can’t be emphasized enough, the truth is not actually this black and white.

The research was very comprehensive, and a lot of conclusions can be made based on it. If the Finnish parliament was to be elected based on the votes of UAS only, both the parliament and the government would be very green and liberal. These are values many people will find easy to relate to. I personally think that fighting climate change and supporting sustainable development should be emphasized in the upcoming election. It’s extremely crucial that the world and Finland we leave behind for future generations is in the same condition we got to enjoy it in – if not better.

 

Olli Kolehmainen
Member of the Board, advocacy