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Poll: 22% support EU membership referendum

Very few Finnish respondents to an Yle poll say they would like a referendum on EU membership. Of the government parties, only the Finns Party and the newly formed New Alternative are gunning for a re-run of the 1994 plebiscite on EU membership.

Suomen ja EU:n liput salossa.
One of the stars on the EU flag represents Finland's membership in the union. Image: AOP

Only one fifth of Finnish people would support a referendum on whether Finland should stay in the European Union, a new Yle-commissioned poll by Taloustutkimus shows.

More than 70 percent of respondents oppose a new referendum outright. But if one were to be held, 62 percent of respondents would vote to stay, while about one in ten respondents say they would not vote at all.

Most respondents do not want a referendum. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Finland voted to join the EU in 1994, with 57 percent of those voting supporting membership and 43 percent opposed. If that poll were re-run now the Yle poll suggests the 'Stay' camp may have swelled to 62 percent, with just 19 percent voting to leave.

The Yle poll suggests that even those who were too young when the 1994 EU membership vote was held are not excited by the idea.

The youngest age group in the survey, aged 15-24, have essentially lived in the EU all their lives; this group along with the oldest demographic say they would be least likely to vote for a Finnish exit.

Most respondents say they would vote against leaving the EU. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

Populist outliers


Every major political party in Finland is mostly opposed to a new EU referendum – except for the waning populist Finns Party and its splinter faction, the anti-immigration New Alternative (later to be known as the Blue Reform).

A majority of the two parties' supporters, 65 percent and 75 percent respectively, say they want a new referendum – and a majority of both would also want out.

All but two political parties oppose a new referendum. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

The most drastic change by occupation is among farmers. In the 1994 referendum more than 90 percent of agricultural workers opposed membership, while now that figure is only some 40 percent. Some 36 percent of them are undecided one way or the other.

Finland spends more than 2 billion euros each year on agricultural subsidies for around 50,000 farmers.

A total of 1,004 people responded to the Taloustutkimus survey on June 14th-21st, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3%.

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