THE national survey commissioned by the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre is a unique and fascinating snapshot of Australian attitudes towards contemporary American institutions, society and culture. The survey reveals a surprising ambivalence about the US and a growing disconnect between Australian and American values which, if not reversed, spells trouble ahead for the special relationship.

More than 50 per cent of those surveyed expressed some dislike of Americans and their culture and there was a marked decline in support for US values and institutions. Only about a third had a “very” or “somewhat favourable” view of religion, race relations and social and economic equality in the US. Gun control, or the absence of it, was viewed as a major negative, reflecting the corrosive impact of the seemingly unending, graphic images of mall massacres and public shootings that are an unfortunate characteristic of modern American life.

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