Lowy Institute Poll 2017 shows some shifts in Australians’ opinions about the world out there

The Lowy Institute annually polls Australian opinions on international relations. This year’s poll (1200 respondents by telephone in the first half of March) yielded these results (key points only, Executive summary, more at the link above):

Most Australians (79%) are dissatisfied with the direction of the world and are divided about the way things are going in Australia (48% dissatisfied). Yet despite a surge in nationalism and protectionism across the West, 78% of Australians think globalisation is ‘mostly good’ for Australia, and most believe in the benefits of free trade.

Support for the US alliance remains firm, while trust in the US has fallen, and Donald Trump remains unpopular. The US has dropped to second place when Australians are asked who is their ‘best friend in the world’. NZ now comes first by a wide margin.

Perceptions of the military threat posed by China have risen this year, with almost half (46%) of Australians saying it is likely to become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years. However, most (79%) see China as more of an economic partner than military threat.

Commentary from Michelle Grattan in The Conversation, Melbourne-based Sam Wallman in the New York Times, Greg Sheridan in The Australian, and Alana Mitchelson in the New Daily. Not explicitly about the Lowy Poll but taking a historical view (back to Thucydides) is Jack Bowers of ANU in The Conversation, who asks whether China and the United States are destined for war.

21 June 2017

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