AUSTRALIANS are increasingly concerned about the number of asylum seekers arriving in boats and much happier with the US now that Barack Obama is running the superpower.They are less keen on China, alarmed about the spread of nuclear weapons and confused about why Australia has troops in Afghanistan.The Lowy Institute’s annual survey of the nation’s views has revealed that Australians’ support for US has rebounded to a record high with Obama’s election. Now 83 per cent trust US to act responsibly in the world – up 23 percentage points since 2006.The vast majority of Australians, 86 per cent, are optimistic about their country’s economic performance over the next five years. The pollsters said that level of confidence in the future was up by 10 points since last year and the highest level of optimism ever recorded by a Lowy Poll.Australians’ greatest fear is that unfriendly countries could obtain nuclear weapons. Also, 76 per cent are concerned about unauthorised asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.There has been a small increase in support for Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan, with 46 per cent saying it should stay the course, although 51 per cent believe the troops should not be there. In what will be good news to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, 71 per cent backed his push for an Australian seat on the UN Security Council.An overwhelming 90 per cent of Australians said they felt safe or very safe in the world.Faced with a list of concerns, 69 per cent said their most serious international fear was the ”critical threat” that unfriendly countries might obtain nuclear weapons.International terrorism was seen as the major threat by 68 per cent. The institute pointed out that the latest Jakarta terrorist bombing occurred while its survey was being carried out. That bombing may have had a bearing on the bleak view recorded of relations with Indonesia, with 54 per cent saying they did not trust that country.China got a much cooler reception on the Lowy thermometer scale, dropping 8 points since 2006.Most Australians (63 per cent) saw China as the most important economy to their country and 95 per cent agreed China already is or would become the leading power in Asia.But 52 per cent were concerned about the rise in Chinese power. And while 59 per cent trusted China to act responsibly, 40 per cent did not.
Nanjing Night Net

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