The poll of 1,124 voters, released on Tuesday, suggests Australians are at odds with the Aukus deal, with just one in five voters labelling China a “threat to be confronted” and only one quarter happy to pay the price tag of up to $368bn to acquire nuclear submarines.
In the poll, 40% of respondents said the submarine partnership would make Australia more secure, down four points since November. Those who said the nation would be less secure rose four points to 21%, while 39% said it would not affect security.
Respondents were split on the cost, with 26% saying Australia needed nuclear submarines and “it’s worth paying that amount to get them”, while 27% said they were necessary but “not worth” the price tag, 28% said Australia does not need them and 19% were unsure.
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents in the poll said Australia’s relationship with China was a “complex relationship to be managed”, up seven points since February.
The proportion who described China as a “threat to be confronted” fell by six points to 20%, while a steady 13% said the relationship was a “positive opportunity to be realised”.