Feelings towards other nations
For the first time, China has slipped to the bottom of the Lowy Institute ‘feelings thermometer’, a measurement of Australians’ perceptions about countries, territories and institutions on a scale of 0° (coldest feelings) to 100° (warmest feelings). China registers a very cool 32°, a 7-degree drop this year, and a striking 26-degree cooling since 2018. In 2020, this place on the thermometer was held by Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Feelings towards Iran in 2021 remain very cold at 34°. Feelings towards Russia and Myanmar continue their cooling trend, with both rating 41° among Australians this year. Australians also feel coolly towards Qatar, at 44°. Both India (56°) and Indonesia (55°) mark a 4-degree improvement since 2020. Feelings towards Hong Kong have remained stable in 2021 at 57°. Views of Papua New Guinea have warmed in 2021 to 60°, a 4-degree lift since 2020. Australians rate the Pacific Islands Forum a warm 66°.
Feelings towards Taiwan have increased by 5 degrees to 62° since 2020. Feelings towards South Korea have rebounded to 61° this year after a dip in 2020. Warmth towards both Germany and the European Union has remained steady in 2021, at 69°and 62° respectively. Australians also feel warmly towards Thailand (62°) and the Philippines (57°, a cooling of 4 degrees since 2018).
Feelings towards the United States sit at a steady 62° in the first year of Biden’s administration, unchanged from 2020, and similar to the first year of the Obama presidency (64°). However, this reading is six degrees lower than the 68° recorded in the first year of the Trump administration.
Feelings towards Japan have warmed since 2020, increasing 4 degrees to 73°. Sentiment towards the United Kingdom has warmed 2 degrees to 76° since 2020, though this remains 6 degrees lower than in 2018. New Zealand again leads the Lowy Institute ‘feelings thermometer’ in 2021, receiving a very warm 87°, steady from 2019.
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