Political trust, political party preference and trust in knowledge-based institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Turku


The purpose of this paper is to analyze the association between political party preference and trust in knowledge-based institutions, while also considering how political trust facilitates the association. The authors focus on the opinions of supporters of the six largest parliamentary political parties in Finland.

The data are based on a population level survey. First, the authors compared party supporters’ trust in universities and YLE media. Second, the authors analyzed how political trust contributes to party supporters’ trust in knowledge-based institutions by estimating predicted probabilities. Third, the authors derived the partial correlations from the non-linear probability models incorporated separately between trust in YLE, Universities and political trust, and compared the correlations across the parties. Finally, the authors conducted the logit models from which the authors post-estimated the predicted probabilities of having high trust in YLE and Universities according to the levels of political trust separately for each party.

The results showed a cumulation of trust, reflecting especially on the attitudes of the populist party supporters who tended to have lower trust in knowledge-based institutions and distrust was highly associated with low political trust. This cumulation of trust shows an interesting dynamic in how closely institutions are linked together in terms of attitudes on their legitimacy.

This study assesses the cumulation of distrust, while providing an alternative political spectrum to the US two party system that has been the major focus of past research. Furthermore, the study fills a gap in the research by being the first to assess the intersection of the trust dimensions.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 40339511