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Voting Evokes Mostly Interest – Political Parties Generate Disappointment

Out of the largest political parties, the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) evokes the most positive emotions whereas the Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset) evokes the most negative emotions. Supporters of the Centre Party (Suomen Keskusta) have the most positive outlook on voting in the municipal elections. This information is revealed in a study conducted by the empathy analytics company NayaDaya in cooperation with MTV News and YouGov.

In this online panel study, which was conducted in March-May, the voters and supporters of the political parties were asked to express their emotions toward the parties, the actions taken by the party leaders as well as toward voting itself. Over 4000 adult Finns took part of the study. NayaDaya’s research method and empathy analytics are based on the scientific emotion theory and a research method developed by the University of Geneva.

Approximately 25 percent of the emotions evoked by the political parties are positive and almost 40 percent are negative. Over one-third of the responses express ’no emotion’, which can be interpreted as insignificance. The most common emotions expressed are disappointment, interest, contempt, disgust, and compassion. Only one-fifth of the emotions indicate positive engagement toward the parties and nearly one-third stagnation and avoidance.

"Part of the people seem to have alienated themselves from the daily politics and the political parties so much so that they see the parties as insignificant. One must point out though, that nearly two-thirds of them experience and express diverse emotions toward the political parties. These emotions have a significant effect on behavior – also on voting behavior", notes NayaDaya’s CEO Timo Järvinen.

SDP the most positive – even though majority of emotions clearly negative

The most positive of the parties is the SDP – even though it manages to evoke more negative than positive emotions. The most negative of the parties is the Finns Party, the Centre Party not trailing far behind. The Centre Party is also experienced as having the least significance among the parties.

”The Green League (Vihreät) engages the voters the most, both in a positive and negative way. More often than others, the party evokes not only interest, but also anger and hate – both emotions, which can lead to even aggressive behavior”, emphasizes NayaDaya’s Chief Product Officer Timo Salomäki.

The Green League is also deemed the most positive among the respective party supporters: up to eight out of ten Green League supporters experience positive emotions toward the party, most often interest, contentment, and pride.

Supporters of the Centre Party most interested in voting

Even though the top three emotions evoked by the Centre Party are all negative (disappointment, contempt, and shame), party’s supporters view voting more positively than other parties’ supporters. Almost three fourths of the Centre Party supporters experience positive emotions toward voting in the municipal elections – and more interest than any other supporter group.

Out of all emotions evoked by the parties, The Finns Party is the only party whose most evoked emotion is positive: interest. However, the party manages to generate more negative emotions than even the Centre Party, shame, contempt, and disgust, for example. Additionally, among the five largest political parties, the supporters of the Finns Party experience the least positive emotions toward voting. They also experience more negative emotions and insignificance toward voting than anybody else.

Should we rank the five largest parties based on the respective supporters experiencing most often positive emotions toward voting in the municipal elections, the order is

  1. The Centre Party

  2. The National Coalition Party

  3. The Green League

  4. The Social Democratic Party

  5. The Finns Party

”While estimating the impact these emotions have on voting behavior, it is important to pay attention to two things: voters’ emotions toward the political parties and the different party supporters’ emotions toward voting. The Centre Party’s situation is somewhat contradictory as the party evokes a lot of negative emotions while its supporters are more interested in voting than others. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact these combined factors have on the final voting result”, says Timo Järvinen.

Study facts

  • Emotion data was collected through the YouGov online panels on March 5-11 (N=1500), April 26-May 3 (N=1503), and May 3-5 (N=1003)

  • The quota sampling was implemented on the basis of age, gender, and geographic location to represent the Finnish population of 18 years or older

  • Other variables were family lifecycle, urbanization, income level, profession, education level, and use of social media

  • For the overall results, for the samples N=1500 and N=1503 the margin of error is ±2,2 percentages and for the sample N=1003 ±2,8 percentages with 95 percent level of trust

  • The data was analyzed with the NayaDaya® Empathy Analytics, based on scientific emotion theory[1], University of Geneva research[2] and algorithm[3] which predicts behavior and engagement levels

[1] Scherer, K.R., Fontaine, J.R.J, & Soriano, C. (2013). Components of Emotional Meaning. Oxford University Press.

[2] Pre-existing scientific research independently conducted and published by the Geneva Emotion Research Group at the University of Geneva.

[3] The Emotional Value Index (EVI) algorithm developed by NayaDaya Inc.

Please contact

Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Oy, , puh. +358 40 505 7745

Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth, NayaDaya Oy, , puh. +358 40 709 2399

NayaDaya Inc. is an empathy analytics company that reveals the way emotions and behavior interact with phenomena and brands. Through data, insight, empathy, and impact, we empower organizations, authorities, brands, and leaders to strive for a sustainable change. If you respect science, empathy, and data, we would love to discuss with you. News and further information:


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