In an opinion poll by Finnish broadcaster Yle, reported by Hufvudstadsbladet, Finland’s foremost Swedish-language newspaper, 62% of all respondents approve of Finnish NATO membership. This is up from 53% in late February.
One in four would like Finland to hold a referendum on the membership, while 77% say that if neighboring Sweden joins NATO, Finland should follow.
When broken down by party affiliation, support for NATO membership is stronger among conservative voters than those leaning left. A clear majority, 65-77% among center-right voters, want Finland to join the defense alliance, while only 39% of voters for the radical Vänsterförbundet are in favor.
In a membership poll by Finland’s alliance of military reservists, 80% of the 5,000 respondents favored a NATO membership. This is up from 64% in February.
While support for a NATO membership is relatively strong in Finland, Swedes appear to be less ready to join the alliance. In a poll by Global Politics on March 5th, 46% of all respondents favored Swedish NATO membership. While lower than in Finland, this is a major increase since December last year, when less than a third replied favorably to Sweden joining NATO.
Another poll, published on March 4th by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, shows a 51% majority for Swedish membership. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson recently made clear that she does not intend to pursue a Swedish NATO membership. She envisions stronger defense ties with neighboring Finland as well as with both the United States and the EU, but is not ready to support membership.
Unlike the socialist prime minister, five center-right parties in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, are in favor of Sweden joining the defense alliance. Given the general election in September, NATO membership could become a major campaign issue for the Riksdag’s two opposing alliances, the socialists and the center right.