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Public perceptions of NATO

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The Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos MORI carried out a survey of the global public’s attitude to NATO ahead of the NATO Leaders Meeting in December 2019.

Conducted in 18 countries around the world, the findings show that in the 11 NATO states surveyed more people agree (40 per cent) than disagree (14 per cent) that the organisation is a force for good in the world, while 26 per cent have a neutral view.

Favourability towards NATO is highest in Poland (60 per cent), the US (56 per cent), Canada (55 per cent) and Britain (50 per cent), but low in some key member states:

  • Germany: 30 per cent
  • France: 31 per cent
  • Italy: 35 per cent
  • Spain 29 per cent

The findings also show:

  • While people in the member states surveyed underestimate the financial contribution of the US to NATO, they overestimate their own nation’s contribution.
  • 40 per cent of Americans disagree that NATO is a waste of money, compared with 14 per cent who agree. While in Britain, 44 per cent disagree and just nine per cent agree.
  • People in Russia (72 per cent) and China (68 per cent) are most likely to think NATO’s purpose is to protect US interests.
  • Of a wider group of countries surveyed, people in Britain are least likely (11 per cent) to believe that one of NATO’s purposes is to harm Russian interests, while 56 per cent of Russians believe this is the case – the highest in the survey.