Public opinion and NATO

How different security environments influence the support for NATO in Finland


  • Albert Weckman Åbo Akademi University


NATO, Security, Public Opinion, Finland , Security Crises


While foreign and security policy attitudes have been studied for decades, there is a research gap from a Nordic and small-state point of view. In addition, the formation of security policy attitudes has become an even more salient issue in times of a deteriorated security environment. This article provides insight into what explains public opinion on issues regarding military co-operation and alliances, especially in a geographically isolated country such as Finland. The main aim of this article is to study whether, and to what extent, support for NATO membership in Finland has increased in the aftermath of a changing and deteriorating security environment. By using multinomial logistic regression, this article shows that the Finnish public reacted heavily to a security crisis, more specifically Russian aggression in the vicinity, by becoming more likely to favour NATO membership. At the same time, as the proportion of NATO supporters increased, many Finns became more uncertain about their opinion. While confirming the results, it must be noted that the strength of the coefficients differs between years. The cross-sectional data used in the analysis originates from the Advisory Board for Defense Information (ABDI).