Australia-US Relations

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The Institute has surveyed Australian attitudes towards the US alliance since the Lowy Institute Poll first asked this question in 2005. These charts track Australian sentiment about the alliance over the full thirteen years of Lowy Institute polling. Following the US presidential election in 2016, this year’s Poll included questions about the effect of the Donald Trump presidency on Australia-US relations.

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Australia-US Relations

DONALD TRUMP AND THE US ALLIANCE

In 2017, the suggestion from last year’s Poll that Australians might recoil from the US alliance under President Trump have reversed. Only 29% of Australians adults now say ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States under President Donald Trump’. This is sixteen points lower than the number last year who said ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States if it elects a president like Donald Trump.’ The number who say we should remain close the United States under President Donald Trump is 65% (up 14 points from those who said last year ‘Australia should remain close to the United States regardless of who is elected US President’). Australians’ warmth towards the United States has recovered after its record 5 point drop last year.

Support for the alliance remains firm, with 77% (up six points) saying the alliance relationship is either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to Australia’s security. In 2016, support for the alliance had fallen nine points to 71%, the second-lowest level of support on this measure in our 12-year polling history, although eight points higher than the lowest result of 63% in 2007, towards the end of the presidency of George W. Bush.

Now that he is President, however, Mr Trump still elicits negative responses. Overall, six in ten Australians say Donald Trump causes them to have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, with most younger adults (70% of those under 45 years of age) and a majority of women (68%) seeing Mr Trump as a negative factor in their opinions. Australians also appear to be slightly less negative about Donald Trump than they were about George W. Bush.

In 2007 Lowy Institute polling, 69% said ‘George W. Bush’ and 63% said ‘US foreign policies’ were negative factors in their opinion of the United States – nine points more than said the same about Donald Trump this year, and 13 points more than said the same about Donald Trump.

In some other respects, Australians view the United States more favourably than they did a decade ago during the final years of the George W. Bush presidency: only 24% (down 17 points) view ‘American culture’ and 11% (down nine points) view ‘Americans you have met’ as negative factors in their opinions of the United States in 2017.

In contrast with these more positive results, the first months of the Trump administration have coincided with a steep erosion in Australians’ trust of the US: only 20% (down 20 points since Australians were last asked the question in 2011) trust the US ‘a great deal’ to act responsibly in the world.  The 61% of Australians who trust the US overall is in contrast with the 90% who trust the UK, 86% who trust Germany and 86% who trust Japan.

US stocks in Australia have recently fallen in another important respect: the number of Australians who see the United States as Australia’s ‘best friend in the world’ has halved since 2014 (from 35% to 17%). Where it shared equal ‘best friend’ status with New Zealand three years ago, it now takes second place alongside the United Kingdom.

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Importance of US Alliance

How important is our alliance relationship with the United States for Australia’s security?


  • HOW TO USE
    • Hover cursor over chart segments to view data. Click responses in the legend to switch individual results on and off.

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Australia-US Relations

DONALD TRUMP AND THE US ALLIANCE

In 2017, the suggestion from last year’s Poll that Australians might recoil from the US alliance under President Trump have reversed. Only 29% of Australians adults now say ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States under President Donald Trump’. This is sixteen points lower than the number last year who said ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States if it elects a president like Donald Trump.’ The number who say we should remain close the United States under President Donald Trump is 65% (up 14 points from those who said last year ‘Australia should remain close to the United States regardless of who is elected US President’). Australians’ warmth towards the United States has recovered after its record 5 point drop last year.

Support for the alliance remains firm, with 77% (up six points) saying the alliance relationship is either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to Australia’s security. In 2016, support for the alliance had fallen nine points to 71%, the second-lowest level of support on this measure in our 12-year polling history, although eight points higher than the lowest result of 63% in 2007, towards the end of the presidency of George W. Bush.

Now that he is President, however, Mr Trump still elicits negative responses. Overall, six in ten Australians say Donald Trump causes them to have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, with most younger adults (70% of those under 45 years of age) and a majority of women (68%) seeing Mr Trump as a negative factor in their opinions. Australians also appear to be slightly less negative about Donald Trump than they were about George W. Bush.

In 2007 Lowy Institute polling, 69% said ‘George W. Bush’ and 63% said ‘US foreign policies’ were negative factors in their opinion of the United States – nine points more than said the same about Donald Trump this year, and 13 points more than said the same about Donald Trump.

In some other respects, Australians view the United States more favourably than they did a decade ago during the final years of the George W. Bush presidency: only 24% (down 17 points) view ‘American culture’ and 11% (down nine points) view ‘Americans you have met’ as negative factors in their opinions of the United States in 2017.

In contrast with these more positive results, the first months of the Trump administration have coincided with a steep erosion in Australians’ trust of the US: only 20% (down 20 points since Australians were last asked the question in 2011) trust the US ‘a great deal’ to act responsibly in the world.  The 61% of Australians who trust the US overall is in contrast with the 90% who trust the UK, 86% who trust Germany and 86% who trust Japan.

US stocks in Australia have recently fallen in another important respect: the number of Australians who see the United States as Australia’s ‘best friend in the world’ has halved since 2014 (from 35% to 17%). Where it shared equal ‘best friend’ status with New Zealand three years ago, it now takes second place alongside the United Kingdom.

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Donald Trump and Australia-US Relations

If a person like Donald Trump were elected President of the United States, which one of the following statements comes closest to your personal view?

2017: Australia should remain close to the United States under President Donald Trump OR Australia should distance itself from the United States under President Donald Trump

2016: Australia should remain close to the United States regardless of who is elected US President OR Australia should distance itself from the United States if it elects a president like Donald Trump


  • HOW TO USE
    • Hover cursor over chart segments to view data. Click responses in the legend to switch individual results on and off.

close

Australia-US Relations

DONALD TRUMP AND THE US ALLIANCE

In 2017, the suggestion from last year’s Poll that Australians might recoil from the US alliance under President Trump have reversed. Only 29% of Australians adults now say ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States under President Donald Trump’. This is sixteen points lower than the number last year who said ‘Australia should distance itself from the United States if it elects a president like Donald Trump.’ The number who say we should remain close the United States under President Donald Trump is 65% (up 14 points from those who said last year ‘Australia should remain close to the United States regardless of who is elected US President’). Australians’ warmth towards the United States has recovered after its record 5 point drop last year.

Support for the alliance remains firm, with 77% (up six points) saying the alliance relationship is either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to Australia’s security. In 2016, support for the alliance had fallen nine points to 71%, the second-lowest level of support on this measure in our 12-year polling history, although eight points higher than the lowest result of 63% in 2007, towards the end of the presidency of George W. Bush.

Now that he is President, however, Mr Trump still elicits negative responses. Overall, six in ten Australians say Donald Trump causes them to have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, with most younger adults (70% of those under 45 years of age) and a majority of women (68%) seeing Mr Trump as a negative factor in their opinions. Australians also appear to be slightly less negative about Donald Trump than they were about George W. Bush.

In 2007 Lowy Institute polling, 69% said ‘George W. Bush’ and 63% said ‘US foreign policies’ were negative factors in their opinion of the United States – nine points more than said the same about Donald Trump this year, and 13 points more than said the same about Donald Trump.

In some other respects, Australians view the United States more favourably than they did a decade ago during the final years of the George W. Bush presidency: only 24% (down 17 points) view ‘American culture’ and 11% (down nine points) view ‘Americans you have met’ as negative factors in their opinions of the United States in 2017.

In contrast with these more positive results, the first months of the Trump administration have coincided with a steep erosion in Australians’ trust of the US: only 20% (down 20 points since Australians were last asked the question in 2011) trust the US ‘a great deal’ to act responsibly in the world.  The 61% of Australians who trust the US overall is in contrast with the 90% who trust the UK, 86% who trust Germany and 86% who trust Japan.

US stocks in Australia have recently fallen in another important respect: the number of Australians who see the United States as Australia’s ‘best friend in the world’ has halved since 2014 (from 35% to 17%). Where it shared equal ‘best friend’ status with New Zealand three years ago, it now takes second place alongside the United Kingdom.

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Factors in feelings towards the US

Do each of the following factors cause you to have an unfavourable opinion of the United States?


  • HOW TO USE
    • Hover cursor over chart segments to view data. Click responses in the legend to switch individual results on and off.