Growing majority of Swedes back joining NATO, opinion poll shows

A new poll showed 57 percent of Swedes now favor NATO membership.

By Niklas Pollard, Reuters - April 20, 2022
Support for NATO membership in Sweden is growing, according to the most recent polling. (Dado Ruvic / Reuters Illustration)

STOCKHOLM — A growing majority of Swedes are in favor of joining NATO, a poll showed on Wednesday, as policymakers in both Sweden and Finland weigh up whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should lead to an end to decades of military neutrality.

The poll by Demoskop and commissioned by the Aftonbladet newspaper showed 57 percent of Swedes now favored NATO membership, up from 51 percent in March. Those opposed to joining fell to 21 percent from 24 percent, while those who were undecided dipped to 22 percent from 25 percent.

The March poll was the first to show a majority of Swedes in favor of joining NATO.

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Sweden has not been at war since the time of Napoleon and has built its security policy on “non-participation in military alliances.”

But like Finland, the invasion of Ukraine, has forced a radical rethink. Both countries are now seen as highly likely to join the 30-nation alliance.

Sweden’s government is reviewing security policy with a report due before the end of May and the ruling Social Democrats are holding an internal debate on whether to drop their long-standing objection to NATO.

The Demoskop poll, consisting of 1,177 interviews carried out from April 14 to April 19, also showed growing support for membership among Social Democrat voters with significantly more favoring joining the alliance than opposed it.