The survey, which was carried out by Swedish polling company TNS Sifo, found that four percent of participants feared that there was a ‘very high risk’ of a terror attack, while 32 percent suggested there was a ‘fairly high risk’ of Sweden being targeted by extremists. Taken together, the figures suggest that one in three Swedes are worried about a terror attack.
The poll was released after two weeks of global debate about how countries should prepare for and cooperate during terror threats, following shootings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a separate attack in Belgium.
Levels of concern in Sweden remain far lower than in other parts of Europe. In France, 93 percent of respondents said they feared a fresh attack, in a similar poll this week.
“The obvious explanation is that the recent terrorist attack happened in France and so there will be completely different figures there. Even so, one would think with all the reporting [about Charlie Hebdo] that there would be a higher proportion who are very concerned in Sweden. But we did not see that effect,” Toivo Sjörén, director of opinion TNS Sifo told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Friday.
The study did reveal significant differences between political groups. Among supporters of the nationalist anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, 67 percent of survey respondents said they were worried about an attack.
“Regarding the Sweden Democrats, [the result] is probably to do with their attitude toward immigration,” said Sjörén.
42 percent of centre-right Alliance party voters said they were concerned, compared with 30 percent of Social Democrat or Green party supporters.
Sweden’s government has made European terrorism a key concern since the recent attacks in France and Belgium.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was among the EU foreign ministers meeting for talks in Brussels this week to discuss tactics for dealing with terrorists in the wake of recent attacks in France and Belgium.
Last week, Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman told The Local: "We are working hard to exchange information, but there are still some obstacles. There is a discussion about trust and knowing if you can really rely on security services from other countries to use information in an appropriate manner."
The TNS Sifo poll was carried out on January 20th and surveyed 1,087 participants.