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Survey: Majority say coronavirus boosted role of experts, science

Respondents also predicted increased inter-group tensions as well as new economic and social challenges post-crisis.

Hengityssuojainta käyttävä nainen katsoi turvallisuusohjeita bussipysäkillä Helsingissä kesäkuussa.
Just over 40 percent of respondents said they anticipated more intense monitoring and control of people in the wake of the crisis. Image: Emmi Korhonen/ Lehtikuva

More than 60 percent of people in Finland have said that they believe that science and expertise will be more important following the coronavirus crisis, according to a new survey by the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra.

Fifty-four percent of respondents also said that tensions and conflict between different groups in society would increase, while economic and social challenges would also arise. Meanwhile 42 percent said that they expected increased monitoring and control of people even after the crisis.

The survey asked which societal actors should exert more influence in the future. Thirty-seven percent said they would give experts more influence, while 33 percent said the President should be assigned greater authority and 28 percent supported placing more power in the hands of ordinary people.

The findings are the outcome of a survey conducted for Sitra’s "Democracy overhaul" project. The research project aims to understand peoples’ vision for the future of democracy in Finland from the perspective of factors such as the coronavirus shock.

Growing support for role of President

The survey also revealed growing trust in the office of the President during the height of the epidemic in spring. Some 40 percent of respondents said they had a high degree of trust in the President, compared to 32 percent in 2017.

Meanwhile a majority said they had faith in government institutions, with 13 percent declaring that they trusted them a great deal and 47 percent quite a lot. The corresponding figures in 2017 were five and 30 percent respectively. Trust in lawmakers and the media also seemed to have increased, the survey results indicated.

The survey of 3,800 respondents was conducted by market research firm TNS Kantar between 29 April and 8 May.

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