The past decade has seen substantial shifts in Swedish security policy and major change in the domestic debate about NATO. For the first time, all of the right-of-centre “alliance parties” are calling for a full NATO membership, and popular support for NATO has increased. Yet public opinion contains ambiguities and paradoxes that complicate the picture. At the same time as support for NATO has increased, the public is overwhelmingly for continued military non-alignment. Drawing on previous research, longitudinal data from national surveys, and other sources on defence and security issues, this article aims to increase our understanding of the development and change in Swedish public opinion on NATO. A key argument is that Erving Goffman’s theatre metaphor, combined with neo-institutional decoupling theory, to a large degree can help understand the public opinion paradox.