Support for the federal government's COVID pandemic handling has plummeted, according to a new survey.
The Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion study found just 52 per cent of respondents remained supportive of the government's approach as at July this year, down from 85 per cent in November 2020.
And while just four per cent labelled its response "very bad" in November 2020, that figure had leapt to 21 per cent by July.
The survey found trust in the government had also dipped to 44 per cent from 55 per cent in November.
They were just some findings from the wide-ranging survey, which author Professor Andrew Markus said showed social cohesion was not broken in Australia.
He pointed out 71 per cent were optimistic about the future and 52 per cent felt most people can be trusted, adding getting majority trust is "rare".
COVID-19 remains the topic on Australians' minds, voted the most important problem facing the country by 59 per cent of respondents.
That figure had dropped to 32 per cent in November last year from 63 per cent in July.
Professor Markus said the 59 per cent figure was particularly emphatic in an open-ended survey.
Another key finding was a huge jump in the perception of racism in Australia - 60 per cent of respondents labelled racism "a big problem", up from 40 per cent a year before.
Professor Markus said attitudes to different ethnicities and Indigenous Australians and experiences of discrimination remained steady, suggesting the increase in viewing it as a problem was not due to a more racist society.
"The best explanation is it's possibly related to what we're seeing in media, probably mainstream media, things like the reporting of demonstrations against lockdowns and vaccine mandates," he said.
"The level of publicity garnered by the far-right has increased."
Broken down by political views, a majority of Greens (88 per cent) and Labor voters (71 per cent) saw racism as a big problem, while Liberal/National (40 per cent) and One Nation voters (30 per cent) ranked lower.
Other findings included 87 per cent of respondents agreed lockdowns were required, with 91 per cent and 85 per cent responses from NSW and Victoria respectively.
Regarding finances, 71 per cent were "very satisfied" with their current situation, up from 64 per cent in 2019.
Australian Associated Press
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