A comprehensive comparison of public opinion in Australia and the United States overwhelmingly concludes that Americans and Australians aren’t as similar as we might assume.

Released today by the United States Studies Centre (USSC), the report brings together the results of an extensive two-country survey of attitudes on a wide range of social, cultural, political and economic issues.

In partnership with YouGov, USSC polled 1,800 Americans and 1,820 Australians in 2019 on topics ranging from social security, abortion, the #MeToo movement, climate change, gun control, the future of work, China and trade.

“Understanding the public attitudes of these two allies could not come at a more critical juncture,” USSC CEO and co-author of the report Professor Simon Jackman said.

“With the US gearing up for an impeachment trial, as well as the 2020 presidential election, and Australia facing unprecedented geopolitical tensions between China and the US, better understanding what values and opinions Australians and Americans hold in common — and those that they don’t — is in Australia’s national interest.”

Key findings

  • On a political spectrum, Coalition voters in Australia share more in common with Americans who voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016 than they do with those who voted for Donald Trump. 
  • On almost every topic, from climate change to tariffs, intense partisanship dominates US public opinion.  
  • Out of a list of 14 countries Australians were asked about, attitudes towards the United States displayed the most distinct partisan split. This was not the case for American views of Australia.  
  • Differences between the ways Australians and Americans see their own societies, each other, and the world extend well beyond views on gun control and health care.

View report

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