Young Swedish men aged 18 to 29 are the age cohort least supportive of joining the NATO military alliance, while elderly Swedes unlikely to be drafted in wartime are far more likely to support the proposition.
A total of 43 per cent of Swedish men aged 18 to 29, the demographic most likely to fight in a war, said they were in favour of joining NATO, while 43 per cent said they were not in favour and wanted the country to remain neutral.
For women in the same age range, the support for NATO membership jumps to 45 per cent, with just 32 per cent saying they are against the proposal, according to the poll which was conducted by the firm Novus, broadcaster SVT reports.
“[I]t’s still the case that the men are as many for as against. They stand and weigh, it’s not a clear no but a pretty clear ‘well’. Almost every second wants to join and almost every other one does not want to join,” Novus CEO Torbjörn Sjöström told the broadcaster.
“Overall… the young are more hesitant about membership than the elderly,” Sjöström added.
For Swedes aged 65 to 79 — the demographic least likely to find themselves fighting in a military conflict — the number in favour of NATO membership surges to 61 per cent.
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In terms of the general Swedish public, 53 per cent say they are behind applying to join NATO, an increase from 48 per cent last week.
64 per cent also said that Sweden should apply to NATO if neighbouring Finland does, which they have now confirmed they will do.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin both stated on Thursday that they were backing NATO membership and formally announced that they would be making an application on Sunday, pending a vote of the Finnish parliament which is regarded by most observers as a foregone conclusion.
The average Finn has also changed their opinion dramatically on NATO membership since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. A poll published last Monday revealed that 76 per cent of Finns backed joining the alliance, up from just 20 to 30 per cent in prior years.
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