Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Mackay.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Mackay. Lee Constable

Lowy poll puts Coalition ahead of Labor in five key areas

MORE Australians think the Coalition will do a better job than Labor on five key policy issues, including asylum seekers and managing the economy, a poll by the Lowy Institute has revealed.

The annual poll on Australian attitudes to the world found most of the 1002 respondents think the Coalition would also perform better on foreign investment, the United State alliance and national security.

However, the Labor Party led the Coalition on two key issues; managing the relationship with China, and climate change.

There was no clear difference in the poll results between the two major parties on the issue of managing relations with the whole Asian world.

Institute executive director Dr Michael Fullilove said the central foreign policy issue remained managing relations with both the US and China.

"Australians think it is possible to have good relations with both Washington and Beijing, but whether this optimism is warranted will depend in part on skilled Australian statecraft," he said.

It also analysed views on China, the US, and foreign investment, with most Australians putting a higher value on the relationship with the US than China.

Support for basing US military troops on Australian soil has also increased to 61%, up six points since 2011.

Sentiment toward China fell five points, and despite most Australians believing China was the most important economy, 57% still believe Australia was allowing too much investment from the Asian giant.

The poll also found only 48% of young Australians (aged 18-25 years old) said they preferred democracy over other forms of government.

Younger Australians were also more likely to oppose basing US soldiers in Australia, and be more optimistic about the national economy.