Allied perceptions on security, defence and NATO

  • 31 Mar. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 31 Mar. 2021 18:19

In 2019 and 2020 NATO commissioned surveys across all 30 Allies to understand perceptions of Allied citizens. Findings from these surveys have been published in the Secretary General’s 2019 Annual Report and the Secretary General’s 2020 Annual Report, charting support for key metrics including collective defence, the transatlantic bond and for NATO membership. This extended data set includes additional metrics on familiarity with NATO, support for defence spending and support for international cooperation.

Key findings

  1. The transatlantic bond continues to rate as highly important in dealing with security challenges (79% consider the relationship between North America and Europe important, compared to 81% in 2019; only 4% say it is unimportant).
  2. Collective defence receives strong support across the Alliance: 69% agree their country should defend another country if attacked; only 9% disagree. 76% agree other NATO countries should defend their country if attacked with only 6% disagreeing; and 58% agree NATO membership deters foreign attack (16% disagree).
  3. Voting intention remains high. In a referendum, 62% of Allies would vote for their nation to remain a NATO member. Only 11% would vote against membership.
  4. Familiarity with the organisation is stable and high: 81% know NATO at least a little, compared to 79% in 2019. 48% know NATO very well or a fair amount and only 4% have never heard of the organisation.
  5. Defence spending: 70% support maintained or increased defence spending, as in 2019; 16% consider their nation should spend less on defence.
  • About the study

    Coverage: 30 NATO Allies: general population over 18 years of age.

    Sample size: In all countries polled online a sample of at least 1,000 respondents per country was achieved. In face-to-face countries at least 500 individuals per country were interviewed. 28,517 interviews were conducted in total.

    Methodology: Online interviews, quotas applied on gender, age and region. In Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia, interviews were conducted via telephone.
    All data has been weighted according to the latest population statistics.
    Results for the NATO total take into account population size of each country.

    Fieldwork period: 5th November – 23rd November 2020.

    Margin of error: The survey uses non-probability sampling. The indicative margin of error of +/- 3%.

    Trend data: In 2019 a survey of 28,752 adults was carried out by Populus. Interviews were conducted online, except for North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro where a face-to-face methodology was used due to the limited penetration of online panels in these countries.

    All data is displayed in percentages unless otherwise specified. Due to rounding results will not always add up to 100%. 2019 data charted is based on surveys of 28,752 adults conducted in November 2019 by Populus in 29 NATO member countries and North Macedonia.