Willingness to defend the country

Updated: 4 Feb 2020
Next update: 14 Dec 2020

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

   

National defence will is strengthened

Two thirds of respondents, or 68 % (66 % in 2018), feel that if Finland is attacked, Finns must defend themselves by military means in all situations, even if the outcome is uncertain. This view was expressed by 78 % (70 % in 2018) of men and 58 per cent (62 %) of women. Seventy-four per cent (72 %) of those over 50 years of age feel this way, as do 66 % (62 %) of those between 25 and 34, 64 % (69 %) of those between 35 and 49 and 56 % (49 %) of respondents under 25 of age.

Eighty-two per cent (80 % in 2018) of Centre Party supporters answered in the affirmative, as did 81 % (65 %) of Coalition Party supporters, 76 % (73 %) of Finns Party supporters, 63 % (71 %) of Social Democratic Party (SDP) supporters, 60 per cent (36 %) of Green Party supporters and 46 per cent (55 %) of Left Alliance supporters.

One fifth, or 19 % (23 % in 2018) think that Finns should not defend themselves militarily in all situations. Twenty-four percent of women (23 % in 2018) and 15 % of men (22 %) share this view.

One third or 34 % (30 % in 2018) of Left Alliance supporters answered in the negative, as did 23 % (49 %) of Green Party supporters, 22 % (21 %) of SDP supporters, 17 % (21 %) of Finns Party supporters, 15 % (24 %) of Coalition Party supporters and 10 % (15 %) of Centre Party supporters.

A total of 13 % (11 % in 2018) had no opinion, 19 % (14 %) of women and eight per cent (22 %) of men.