Willingness to defend the country

Updated: 8 Dec 2017
Next update: 14 Dec 2018

From the year 1970 onwards, ABDI Surveys have charted the willingness to defend the country with the question ”If Finland were attacked, should Finns, in your opinion, take up arms to defend themselves in all situations, even if the outcome seemed uncertain?” The annual surveys, conducted by the Advisory Board for Defence Information, focus on security and foreign policy and national defence, charting Finnish public opinion on these issues. FSD collections cover data from 1992.

The indicator data are based on ABDI research reports and mainly originate from surveys conducted in the autumn. The year 1970 and 1971 surveys were conducted by the predecessor of ABDI, the Planning Board for Psychological Defence. About a thousand people living in Finland aged 15 - 74 (79) respond to the survey annually. The sample is weighted to represent the Finnish population.

The question on the willingness to defend the country was originally a translation from a question used in Sweden. Styrelsen för psykologiskt försvar has been using the question its surveys in Sweden since the year 1952. In 2009, the Styrelsen was integrated into Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap MSB which has continued the surveys. The reports are published online: www.msb.se


The will to defend the nation remains unchanged

Seven out of ten or 72% think that Finns should defend themselves by military means in all situations even if the outcome seemed uncertain (71% in 2016). Seventy-nine percent of men (79%) and 66% of women (64%) share this view.

Eighty-two percent (84% in 2016) of the Finns Party supporters answered in the affirmative as did 80% (81%) of the Coalition Party supporters; 73% (79%) of the Centre Party; 68% (77%) of the SDP; 67% (68%) of the Left Alliance; and 65% (52%) of the Green Party supporters agree.

One in five, 22% (21% in 2016) think that Finns should not defend themselves with military means in all situations; 25% (25%) of women and 19% (16%) of men. Younger age groups answer in the negative more often than older age groups. Of those younger than 25 years of age, 29% (27%) answered in the negative as did< 28% (31%) of the 25 to 34 years of age; 23% (19%) of the 35 to 49 years of age; and 17% (16%) of those older than 50 years of age.

Of the Green Party supporters, 28% (39% in 2016) answer in the negative as do 25%
(16%) of the SDP supporters; 24% (15% and 24%) of the Centre Party and Left Alliance;
18% (14%) of the Coalition Party; and 15% (9%) of the Finns Party supporters