Associations Between Political Orientation and Attitudes Towards Leisure Activities

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Pekka RASANEN, University of Turku, Finland
Aki KOIVULA, University of Turku, Finland
Arttu SAARINEN, University of Turku, Finland
The changing voting preferences and public attitudes towards political parties are an integral part of the current democracies all over Europe. In Finland, after the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2015, public discussions soon turned to the formation of the so-called “red-green bubble” i.e. the interaction of the left and green among individuals. The “bubble” itself can be thought of as a different type of social network, or in practice, as an interaction based stable relationship or a contact between people sharing mutual political preferences. Following this, we argue that many of the influential social networks are formed on the basis of political preferences. In order to test this argument, we analyze the associations between political party preference and attitudes towards leisure activities. In contemporary research, it is generally argued that individualistic choices are more important than collective and structural interests. However, it can be expected that shared opinions, norms and beliefs influence the consumption practices of the network members. We utilize unique data derived from national-level surveys collected in Finland in 2009 (n=1,202) and 2014 (n=1,351). Both samples consist of respondents aged 18 to 74 years, thus providing an extensive look at the phenomenon.  Our results suggest that political preference is an important predictor of consumer attitudes, even after controlling the effects of socio-demographic factors. Our hypothesis regarding the “red-green bubble” is also partly supported. The supporters of the Greens, the Social democrats and the right-wing party (the Coalition) are more hedonistic consumers than supporters of other political parties. When examining mundane consumption, the centre-right parties (the Finns and the Center) differ from the right-wing and Social democrats. However, our findings do not necessarily support the assumption regarding the interaction between the Left-Alliance and the Greens when examining hedonistic consumption attitudes.