Willingness to defend the country

Updated: 14 Dec 2020
Next update: 14 Dec 2021

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 of women to defend the nation has declined

When asked 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", 65 per cent (68% in 2019) answered in the affirmative, 52 per cent (58%) of women and 77 per cent (78%) of men.

Of those over 50 years, 72 per cent (74%) answer in the affirmative, as do 62 per cent (64%) of 35-49-year-olds, 57 per cent (56%) of those younger than 25 years, and 55 per cent (66%) of 25-34-year-olds.

Eighty-one per cent (76% in 2016) of Finns Party supporters answer in the affirmative, along with 80 per cent (82%) of Centre Party supporters, 79 per cent (81%) of Coalition Party supporters, 63 per cent (63%) of SDP supporters, 50 per cent (46%) of Left Alliance supporters, and 42 per cent (60%) of Green Party supporters.

Eighteen per cent (19% in 2019) of respondents answer the question in the negative, 23 per cent (24%) of women and 14 per cent (15%) of men.

Thirty-four per cent (34% in 2019) of Left Alliance supporters answer in the negative, as do 28 per cent (23%) of Green Party supporters, 19 per cent (22%) of SDP supporters, 12 per cent (10%) of Centre Party supporters, 10 per cent (17%) of Finns Party supporters, and eight per cent (15%) of Coalition Party supporters.

Seventeen per cent (13% in 2019) had no opinion, 25 per cent (19%) of women and 9 per cent (8%) of men. Nineteen per cent (14%) of 25-34-year-olds had no opinion while this was the case for 18 per cent (22%) of those younger than 25 years, and for 16 per cent (14% and 10%) of 35-49-year-olds and those over 50 years.

Of Green Party supporters, 30 per cent (16% in 2019) had no opinion, while this was the case for 18 per cent (15%) of SDP supporters, 16 per cent (19%) of Left Alliance supporters, 13 per cent (4%) of Coalition Party supporters, 9 per cent (6%) of Finns Party supporters, and 8 per cent (8%) of Centre Party supporters.