A median of 57% across the 11 NATO member countries surveyed voiced favorable views of the coalition, with only about a quarter (median of 27%) expressing negative opinions.
The alliance’s strongest support among the countries surveyed comes from the Dutch and Polish. However, an overwhelming majority of Greeks express negative views, setting them apart as the most critical member of NATO included in the survey. Meanwhile, Americans regard NATO favorably by a more than two-to-one margin.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has raised questions about the relevancy of NATO. An April Pew Research Center survey of Americans found that those who supported him in the primaries were more likely than voters who supported the other candidates to express skepticism about NATO’s benefits to the U.S. Three-in-ten Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters who backed Trump in the primaries said being a member of NATO is bad for the U.S. Yet, a clear majority of his primary supporters still voiced the opinion that NATO membership is good for the country (64%).
Only in Poland (52%) and the Netherlands (49%) do roughly half favor increasing spending. Conversely, a third in Spain and about a quarter in Italy and Greece (both 23%) prefer that their country spend less.
Americans are torn between maintaining current spending (40%) and increasing the defense budget (35%). However, Republicans are much more likely to say they want the U.S. to increase defense spending (61%) compared with Democrats (20%) and independents (31%).
This sentiment across several NATO countries is notable because in Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty that created NATO, member states “agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”
Yet only in the U.S. and Canada did more than half think their country should use military action if Russia attacks a fellow NATO member (56% and 53%, respectively). Germans (58%) were the most likely to say their country should not use military force.
CORRECTION (April 2017): The topline accompanying this blog post has been updated to reflect a revised weight for the Netherlands data, which corrects the percentages for two regions. The changes due to this adjustment are very minor and do not materially change the analysis of the blog post. For a summary of changes, see here. For updated demographic figures for the Netherlands, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.