This week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is being treated with just the second state dinner held by the Trump White House since the 2016 US presidential election. According to United States Studies Centre CEO, Professor Simon Jackman, this reflects the importance of the US-Australian alliance to both countries.
“From the American point of view, Australia is a key ally,” Professor Jackman said.
“Since the formal security alliance between the two countries was formed in 1951, Australia has been the only country to have fought alongside the United States in every major conflict since the Second World War.
“Perhaps even more important from the perspective of President Trump, the United States runs a trade surplus with Australia, and Australia is rare among US allies in lifting its defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP.”
New polling by the United States Studies Centre indicates this is not just a relationship that exists at the level of policy elites, with almost all Americans identifying Australia as a friend or ally, and Australians reciprocating that notion.
In July 2019, the United States Studies Centre surveyed 1,820 Americans, asking them to assess 14 countries as either an “ally” of the United States, as “friendly” or “unfriendly” towards the United States, or as an “enemy” of the United States. A similar exercise was given to 1,800 Australian survey respondents, eliciting assessments of Australia’s relationships with the same set of countries.
Professor Jackman said the responses show that 97 per cent of Americans rate Australia as a friend or ally. This was the highest ranking among 14 countries. Similarly, 93 per cent of Australians rate the United States as a friend or ally.
“Inside America’s political and foreign policy establishment, Australia is a highly regarded ally, but our data tell us that this is a feeling also shared by the general public,” said Professor Jackman.
“Six in ten Americans report that Australia is an ally of the United States. This was exceeded by only two other countries, the United Kingdom (65 per cent) and Canada (64 per cent), but by amounts that are not statistically meaningful.
“Americans are much more likely to see Australia as an ally than other US partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including New Zealand (53 per cent), Japan (50 per cent) and South Korea (47 per cent).
“Mirroring the US results, six in ten Australians report that the United States is an ally, third behind New Zealand (73 per cent) and the United Kingdom (68 per cent).
“Another 34 per cent of Australians identified the United States as a friend, with 93 per cent in total saying the United States is a friend or ally.”
US respondents' ratings of 14 countries (%)
Percentage of US respondents rating countries as an ally, by party identification
Percentage of US respondents rating countries as an ally or friendly, by party identification
Australian respondents' ratings of 14 countries (%)
About the survey
These surveys were fielded on the YouGov online panel in both countries between 23-29 July 2019. Responses were weighted by YouGov to ensure samples representative of the Australian and American populations. The Australian sample was weighted by age, gender and location. The US sample was weighted by age, gender, race, education, and vote choice at the 2016 presidential election.
The margin of error is approximately ±2.5 percentage points on a 50 per cent figure for results reported for the full sample of both the Australian and American surveys. It is larger for sub-groups of the full samples, results further from 50 per cent and for reported differences between the countries.
For the United States