Australians are more optimistic about the country’s future as anxiety over COVID-19 fades away, according to a new survey.
On Thursday, the Scanlon Foundation institute released early data from its annual Mapping Social Cohesion study, showing how public opinion has been shaped by COVID-19.
The survey found that in November, three-quarters of Australians were optimistic about the future. This is a five percent increase from July, when the country was still in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic.
It is also a 12 percent increase on last year, when Australia was coping with the bushfire crisis.
Young people, despite bearing the brunt of COVID-19’s economic consequences, also remain the most optimistic.
More than two-thirds of people aged 18 to 34 are hopeful that life in Australia will improve in three-to-four years. By contrast, less than one-third of people aged 55 to 64 felt the same optimism.
The pandemic no longer tops the agendas of most Australians. Instead, concerns have now shifted to the economy.
- “The overwhelmingly positive character of the findings on trust came as a surprise and said a lot about the resilience and cohesion of Australian society when under significant stress,” said lead researcher Andrew Markus, from Monash University.
The survey shows support for the state governments’ handling of the pandemic is also at a record-high in opinion polling, with 85 percent of survey respondents believing the government has dealt with the crisis very well, or well.
At a state level, a remarkable rate of 99 percent of West Australians supported the McGowan government’s approach, while the figure was 91 percent in Queensland and 81 percent in NSW.
Despite facing criticism from federal government and other states for its intense lockdown and arrest of anti-lockdown protesters, the Victorian government has received rising public support, from 65 percent in July to 78 percent in November. It is the only state to record support below 80 percent.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been vocal about Victoria’s harsh restrictions, saying it could cost the national economy $10 billion in only weeks.
For the first time since the Scanlon Foundation began polling in 2007, a majority of Australians (55 percent) trusted the federal government “to do the right thing for the Australian people almost always (or) most of the time.”
Between 2007 and 2019, more than two-thirds of Australians were sceptical of politicians and sparing in their trust of political parties.
AAP contributed to this article.