Johanna Kallio, Hannu Lahtinen & Hanna Wass
A Tale of Two Professions in Elections: Party Choice Among Diaconal and Social Workers
Diaconal and social workers spend their days implementing social policy and exercising discretional power while being regularly exposed to social inequalities. As an occupational group, they are heavily influenced by official government decisions, which might be expected to shape their political preferences. Our analyses, based on the Street-Level Bureaucrats Survey 2011 (n = 1,237) and the Finnish National Election Study 2011 (n = 1,298) reveal that more than half of diaconal workers voted for conservative centrist parties – the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party – in the 2011 parliamentary elections, whereas two-thirds of social workers supported leftist or green parties. The work context – the municipality/parish, length of work experience, and primary work duties – also influenced voting behavior. The professional identities and work environments of diaconal and social workers thus differentiate them not only from other members of the same social class, but also from each other in terms of partisanship.