Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis

2. Positive ratings for NATO

Bar chart showing NATO viewed favorably in most member countries surveyed

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought renewed attention to the NATO alliance, and has even led nations such as Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership. While the organization is consistently seen favorably across many member countries, positive opinion of NATO is up in several places.

A median of 65% across 11 member states have a favorable view of NATO, and 26% have an unfavorable view. Seven-in-ten or more feel positively toward NATO in the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. Americans are more positive on NATO than negative, though partisan divides shape opinion. And in Poland, a particularly prominent member of NATO since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 89% feel favorably toward the alliance.

In Greece, favorable views of NATO have never risen above roughly four-in-ten (38% in 2021). Greece is the only nation in the current survey with a majority expressing negative views of the alliance.

Sweden is not currently a member of NATO, but Swedes are very favorable toward the organization. About eight-in-ten hold a positive opinion, while 18% hold a negative one (the survey was conducted before Sweden submitted its application to join NATO).

Favorable views of NATO have increased in several countries from when this question was last asked. In Germany, for example, positive opinion of the alliance is up 11 percentage points from 2021. Positive views have increased significantly in the UK, Poland, the U.S., the Netherlands and nonmember state Sweden.

Among NATO member countries, British, Polish and Belgian views of NATO are at a record high since the question was first asked. And in non-NATO member Sweden, the 79% who have a favorable view of the alliance is also an all-time high.

Ratings of NATO are down significantly, however, in Italy, from a record high of 72% in spring 2021 to 64% now. In Greece, positive views have also fallen somewhat from an all-time high in 2021.

Table showing views of NATO from 2007 to 2022 in 12 countries
Swedes grew more favorable toward NATO during fieldwork

In Sweden, views of NATO increased over the course of the survey period, with very favorable opinions of the alliance increasing substantially. Fieldwork began the day Russia invaded Ukraine (Feb. 24) and in the early weeks, around three-quarters saw the alliance positively, including around one-in-five who said they had very positive views. By early April, 84% of Swedes said they had favorable views of NATO, including around three-in-ten who had very favorable views.  

As observed in past surveys, those on the ideological right in some countries are more likely than those on the left to give NATO a positive rating. This difference is largest in Greece, where NATO favorability is typically lower than among the other member states included in the poll. In Greece, those who place themselves on the ideological right are 22 percentage points more likely to have a favorable opinion of NATO than those on the ideological left. Significant differences are also present in Spain, nonmember Sweden, France and the UK. In Canada and the U.S., this pattern is reversed: Those on the left are more likely to express a positive view of the alliance than those on the right.

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