The poll, carried out by the Demoskop opinion research company for the Aftonbladet newspaper, showed the highest level of support for joining the security alliance ever recorded among Swedes, and follows a poll last week in neighbouring Finland which also showed public opinion shifting in favour of joining.
Both Sweden and Finland have historically been non-aligned, with Sweden remaining neutral through both world wars.
“These are the highest numbers ever, but it is to be expected that we would see opinion shift,” Karin Nelssson, the polling company’s chief executive, told Aftonbladet.”Our own security situation has been affected and people see what happened to Ukraine, which was also not part of Nato.”
According to the poll, 27 percent are against Sweden joining the alliance, while 22 percent are still uncertain. In the company’s January poll, only 42 percent were in favour, while 37 percent were against.
The poll came a week after a poll carried out for Finnish state broadcaster Yle found that 53 percent of Finns were now in favour of joining the alliance, up from just 19 percent when the broadcaster last polled on the question in 2017.
When the respondents to the Demoskop poll who were in favour were asked why, several said they did not want to be a strategic element in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attack the west.
Many of those who were against joining were afraid that Putin might attack Sweden if Sweden did join.
“Many people see what is happening now by no one is helping Ukraine militarily,” said Nelsson. “But many are also afraid that we are not strong enough to withstand a Russian invasion.”
The poll was published as the populist Sweden Democrat party, which has long opposed Nato membership, looked close to changing its position, a shift that would mean a parliamentary majority in Sweden in favour of Nato membership.
“It’s impossible to rule out anything in this extreme security situation,” the party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Aron Emilsson told Swedish Radio.
“If it is really the case that a majority of people in Finland switch over and we see Finnish membership of Nato coming closer, that will put the question in a completely different light here.”
Senior figures in the Green Party and even in the Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats, both of whom have historically opposed Nato membership, have in recent days expressed support in joining the alliance.