Programs & Projects

The Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program

The Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program

To inform the public debate on Australia’s foreign policy, the Lowy Institute has sought the views of the Australian public on foreign policy since 2005. The Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program also conducts polls in important neighbouring countries, and more recently, has started to survey diaspora communities in Australia.

The annual Lowy Institute Poll is one of the Lowy Institute’s flagship publications. It is the leading tracking survey on Australian foreign policy, providing a reliable vehicle for understanding Australian attitudes towards a wide range of foreign policy issues, while being independent and methodologically rigorous.

Over the course of the past decade, the Poll has uncovered significant shifts in public sentiment, including towards our most important neighbours and partners. It has tracked attitudes on important international issues ranging from climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, to Australia’s relationships with China and the United States.

One of the best ways to explore the data from our eighteen years of polling is through our interactive site. Copies of the previous Lowy Institute polls are available here.

The Lowy Institute continues to conduct influential polls in several of our most important neighbours in the Asia-Pacific, including Indonesia (2006, 2011 and 2021), India (2013), New Zealand (2007 and 2012), China (2009) and Fiji (2011).

Through the Multiculturalism, Identity and Influence Project, the Lowy Institute has also conducted surveys of Chinese-Australian communities in 2020 and 2021. The ground-breaking Being Chinese in Australia study asks Chinese-Australians about their views on a wide range of issues — from foreign influence and relationships with China, to systems of government and pride in Australian life and culture.

The annual Lowy Institute Poll is entirely funded by the Lowy Institute to ensure its ongoing independence, and its questionnaire and results are thoroughly reviewed by independent consultants. The full dataset is available on the Lowy Institute Poll website, and datasets are also deposited with the Australian Social Science Data Archive where they are available free of charge for public scrutiny.

Experts
Latest publications
News and media
Director, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program
Indonesia Poll 2021 - Charting their own course
Polling
Indonesia Poll 2021 - Charting their own course
The Indonesia Poll 2021 — Charting their own course, conducted a decade after the Lowy Institute’s last poll in the country, is based on fieldwork carried out in December…
Lowy Institute Conversations: Michelle Grattan and Katharine Murphy on Australian foreign policy from the Canberra Press Gallery
Podcasts
Lowy Institute Conversations: Michelle Grattan and Katharine Murphy on Australian foreign policy from the Canberra Press Gallery
In this episode of Conversations, Natasha Kassam talks with Michelle Grattan and Katharine Murphy about China, climate policy and COVID-19, and what to expect from…
The dangers in Australia’s blissful ignorance about India
The dangers in Australia’s blissful ignorance about India
A major headline from the 2021 Lowy Institute Poll is the dramatic decline in the Australian public’s assessment of China, continuing the trend already observed in previous years…
By the numbers: Charting the Australia-China relationship in decline
By the numbers: Charting the Australia-China relationship in decline
“China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy.” Or so said a Chinese government official speaking to an Australian reporter in November 2020. This comment…
US-Australia alliance a friendship, not a love affair
US-Australia alliance a friendship, not a love affair
At first glance, the 2021 Lowy Institute Poll, released today, tells a positive story about how Australians view a post-Donald Trump America: trust in the United States to behave…
Commentary
Fear of military conflict on the rise in Australia
In an opinion piece originally published in The Australian newspaper, Lowy Institute director of public opinion and foreign policy Natasha Kassam and research director…
Commentary
Australia Is Under Pressure to Implement Magnitsky-Style Laws
Both Washington and the Australian public want more sanctions on China. Originally published in Foreign Policy.
Lowy Institute Conversations: Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez on Australia and China
Podcasts
Lowy Institute Conversations: Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez on Australia and China
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Senior Fellow Richard McGregor sits down with Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez to discuss new Lowy Institute research relating to…
Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities
Polling
Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities
Amid debates on foreign interference, Australia-China relations and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lowy Institute’s Multiculturalism, Identity and Influence Project conducted a…
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