Skip to content

Yle poll: Support for Nato membership soars to 76%

Support for joining the alliance has risen by 14 percentage points since March.

Image: Eetu-Mikko Pietarinen / Yle

As Finnish leaders move toward a decision on applying for Nato membership, the latest Yle poll shows clear and steadily growing public support.

Backing for membership in Yle polls has grown from 53 percent in February to 62 percent in March and 76 percent in May. Before the Russian attack on Ukraine, a majority of Finns had long opposed membership.

In March, about one-fifth of respondents were still unsure about their Nato position, but by early May, only about one in ten respondents were still unsure.

According to Taloustutkimus CEO Jari Pajunen, Nato popularity has seen an "accelerating arc" during this spring.

"Uncertainty has decreased, but the share of opponents has decreased even more," Pajunen said on Monday.

In February, 28 percent of the respondents opposed membership, but that fell to 16 percent in March and 12 percent in May.

A possible Swedish application for Nato membership would raise backing in Finland to 83 percent.

A clear position by the Finnish president and the government backing membership raise support by around the same margin, to 82 percent.

Gender split narrows

In the May poll, 81 percent of men and 72 percent of women support a Nato application. That's up from 71 percent of men and 53 percent of women in March.

In the March poll, almost a third of women were still unsure of their position, but many have now turned toward Nato.

The government's updated white paper on changes in Finland's security environment was completed on 13 April, and Parliament began consideration of the report a week later.

In the parliamentary debate on 20 April, it became clear that Finland had a strong majority of parliamentary parties behind Nato membership.

High support even among left-leaning voters

In the latest poll, almost all supporters of the opposition National Coalition Party (NCP) support membership. Among the five governing parties, the strongest support is among backers of the Swedish People's Party and the Centre.

Supporters of the Greens and the opposition Finns Party agree for once on an issue, with about three-quarters of both groups saying that Finland should join Nato.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin's SDP is to decide its Nato position on Saturday.

The latest poll suggests that 81 percent of SDP supporters support Nato membership, nearly doubling since February.

"There has also been a significant change in the Left Alliance, as a clear majority of their supporters are now in favour of Nato membership," said Pajunen.

Taloustutkimus carried out the survey via an internet panel from 4 to 6 May 2022. It says that the 1270 respondents represent the voting-age population in Finland. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Correction 17:35: A majority of Finns had long opposed membership

Correction 18:13: the Russian attack on Ukraine