SYDNEY, June 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A majority (55%) of Australians are in favor of allowing the United States to base military forces in Australia. That's the finding of a nationally representative poll conducted in Australia by the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based foreign policy think tank.
The poll also found very high levels of support for the US-Australia alliance with 82% of Australians saying it is either very or fairly important for Australia's security. Lowy Institute Executive Director Dr Michael Wesley said "one factor driving Australians even closer towards the United States could be public concern about the wider implications of China's rise."
A large majority (78%) of Australians see the strong alliance as a natural extension of the many common values and ideals that Australians and Americans share.
Dr Wesley, said "the poll findings show just how committed Australians are to the US alliance but also that people recognize the risks it entails." "For example, three quarters [73%] of Australians agree that the alliance makes it more likely Australia will be drawn into a war in Asia that would not be in Australia's interests," he said.
Australians also have a lot of trust in the United States. A very large majority (83%) of Australians say they trust the United States either "a great deal" or "somewhat" to act responsibly in the world. The United States had the strongest levels of trust of any of the eight powers included in the survey.
However, on the war on Afghanistan, where Australia is fighting alongside the United States, public opposition to the war hit a new record high with 59% of Australians now opposed to Australia's continued military involvement.
The seventh annual nationally representative Lowy Poll surveyed 1,002 adult Australians by telephone from 30 March to 14 April.
The full report - with many more findings - will be available from the Lowy Institute website www.lowyinstitute.org on Monday 27 June 2011.
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SOURCE Lowy Institute for International Policy