Politician polarization in Finland over recent years
We study politicians’ ideological polarization, and its possible absence, in Finland. To measure ideological positions, we look at the responses of candidates to the voting advice applications for the parliamentary elections of 2011, 2015 and 2019, which provide an almost full coverage of the candidates. Moreover, we look at the relationship between local income polarization, at the municipal level, and the degree of polarization of the candidates coming from a given municipality. We find that there has not been a significant increase in ideological polarization over time, both between and within party, and that the degree to which candidates’ positions differ depend strongly on the dimension considered. On the other hand, we find a significant positive relationship between local income polarization and the tendency of candidates to hold relatively extreme positions, indicating that growing income inequalities between different areas in Finland might lead to more polarized candidates’ ideologies.