Aussies place their trust in PM, ABC

Australians are “extremely confident” their country has handled the coronavirus well but most believe China and the United States have failed, new polling from an independent think tank suggests.

May 14, 2020, updated May 14, 2020

The Lowy Institute on Thursday published results from a survey conducted by the Social Research Centre in April which found 93 per cent of Australians think the virus pandemic has been handled well at home.

But only 31 per cent of the 3000 respondents said China had dealt with the outbreak very well or fairly well, while 60 per cent thought the Asian superpower had handled it badly.

One in 10 people thought the United States had done well to date, with 90 per cent saying the US had handled the outbreak badly.

Some 59 per cent of Australians list Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other government officials as a preferred source of information during the pandemic, while 50 per cent list government websites and the ABC.

Less than a third of respondents listed newspapers and news websites as a preferred source of information, while commercial and pay-TV news and radio (28 per cent) and social media (20 per cent) ranked even lower.

Lowy Institute research fellow Natasha Kassam says Australians expressed greater confidence in local authorities than in the World Health Organization.

Kassam said the COVID-19 crisis had tempered Australians’ expectations of China’s power in the future.

More than a third of respondents said China would be more powerful than it was before the crisis, but that compares with 72 per cent of people who said in 2009 that China would be more powerful after the global financial crisis.

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A third now say China will be just as powerful – with 27 per cent saying China will be less powerful than it was before the crisis.

The report also found 68 per cent of Australians now feel less favourable towards China’s system of government when thinking about China’s handling of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Australians were split on whether America’s power will decline or remain stable after the coronavirus.

But Australians would like to see a change in government in the United States, the opinion poll suggests, with 73 per cent saying they would prefer Democrat Joe Biden to win the election, compared to 23 per cent rooting for President Donald Trump.


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