HS: Over half of Finns are in favour of joining Nato

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HS: Over half of Finns are in favour of joining Nato

A Finnish soldier took part in Cold Response 2022, a Norway-led winter exercise held in Northern Norway in March. About 30,000 troops from both Nato allies and partners took part in the long-planned exercise. (Jonathan Nackstrand – AFP/Lehtikuva)

A NEW SURVEY by Helsingin Sanomat indicates that 54 per cent of the public are in favour of Finland joining Nato, representing an increase of six percentage points from a survey conducted for the newspaper between late February and early March.

A little over a fifth (21%) of the 1,062 people surveyed stated that they oppose the membership and a quarter (25%) that they cannot say one way or another.

The latest survey was carried out by Kantar TNS between 18 and 23 March. The two surveys are not directly comparable because the more recent was carried out as an online panel survey and the earlier as a phone survey.

Public views on the membership have nevertheless changed dramatically in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Surveys by YLE and Maaseudun Tulevaisuus have recently measured support for the defence alliance at 61–62 per cent.

Sakari Nurmela, the research director at Kantar TNS, reminded Helsingin Sanomat that differences in survey results are natural and often attributable to minor differences in the methodology and survey period.

“This is an issue that’s so burning that changes and swings are very typical in the short term,” he said.

The YLE survey, he explained, was carried out during very heated fighting in Ukraine, between 9 and 11 March. Russia appears to have since started re-organising its troops, prompting a shift in media reporting on the war. The Maaseudun Tulevaisuus survey, on the other hand, asked respondents to comment on the membership in the event that it was supported by the central administration

“When you ask what if the central administration recommended joining, you get a higher percentage,” said Nurmela.

Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday wrote that views on the defence alliance were positive particularly among 60–69-year-olds. While the majority of all over 40-year-old respondents expressed their support for the membership, the share of supporters fell slightly short of 50 per cent among 31–39-year-olds and slightly more short among under 30-year-olds.

Also educational background and income level seem to have an impact on public views on Nato, according to the newspaper. People with higher income and higher education qualifications were more widely supportive of joining than people with lower income and no post-basic education qualifications.

“The survey tells that Nato membership is first and foremost an idea that’s embraced by the upper middle class,” analysed Nurmela.

“The share of people who don’t have an opinion is slightly higher among the working class and less educated segments of the population. They aren’t as enthusiastic about the issue at the moment.”

Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday also reported that 75 Members of the Finnish Parliament have voiced their support for applying for the membership in surveys conducted by various news outlets. While 11 lawmakers have stated that they oppose the membership and 20 that they cannot say, 94 have refrained from announcing their stance publicly.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: www.helsinkitimes.fi

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