New polling from the United States Studies Centre (USSC) and YouGov shows that Australians have significantly higher levels of trust in the government, the media and other major institutions than their American counterparts.

While just 21 per cent of Australians said the federal government could be trusted to do the right thing all or most of the time, only eight per cent of Americans said the same. USSC CEO Professor Simon Jackman says much of this gap in institutional trust between the two countries is attributable to differences in the supporters of the conservative parties.

“Lower levels of trust in the United States largely stem from Republicans’ exceptionally low levels of trust in institutions. Republicans and Democrats trust family and friends equally, but differ markedly when evaluating media, political parties and government. Republicans even report low levels of trust in their own party and its elected officials," he said.

“Coalition supporters in Australia are nowhere near as hostile towards these institutions and groups as are Republicans in the United States.”

The results are based on the responses of 1,032 people in Australia and 1,127 in the United States, who were surveyed in mid-December 2017. These respondents were recruited from YouGov’s online panel.

Key points

  • Republicans are less trusting of the Republican-controlled national government of the United States than Australian Greens supporters are of the Coalition-controlled government in Canberra.
  • Sixty-four per cent of Australians say they trust the ABC while only 49 per cent of American respondents trust their national broadcasters.
  • Fifty-one per cent of Australians say they trust commercial TV news, but only 40 per cent of Americans say the same.
  • Seventy-five per cent of Australians trust university researchers, while only 55 per cent of Americans shared this view.

Read the full results

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