2016 marks the twelfth year of the annual Lowy Institute Poll. In a year of elections − the Australian election, the US presidential election and the selection of a new UN Secretary-General − the 2016 Poll has findings on how Australians feel about each of these contests, together with new data on some of the important tracking questions the Poll has incorporated over the last twelve years.

The 2016 Poll examines attitudes to other important issues such as freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, foreign investment in Australian farmland and military engagement in Iraq and Syria. The Poll also provides data on how public opinion on some of our most important relationships, including those with China and the United States, is evolving.

Key findings

  • The LNP Coalition is favoured over Labor for handling seven of eight key foreign policy issues, including the US alliance, national security, economic management, and asylum seekers. Labor leads only on the issue of climate change.
  • China and the United States are tied when Australians are asked which relationship is the more important to Australia: 43% nominate the US and 43% nominate China. China also has a clear lead over Japan as Australia’s best friend in Asia (30% say China and 25% say Japan is our ‘best friend in Asia’).
  • 74% of Australians are in favour of Australia conducting freedom of navigation operations in response to China’s activities in the South China Sea.
Based on data

Lowy Institute Poll, 2016

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