Political views have not changed much over the years.
In 2016, only 35% of Australians had a negative view of Muslims, while 52% held a favourable view of them.
But in 2017, that figure rose to 57%.
The survey also found that Australians had very mixed views about the political party they currently belong to.
More than half of Australians, or 55%, were satisfied with the Liberal Party, while only 26% of Labor voters were satisfied.
And only 15% of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the Labor Party.
However, while the proportion of people satisfied with Labor’s political direction fell from 47% in 2016 to 41% in 2017 – a number that was higher than that of the Greens, it is now just below the level seen in the 1990s, when there were similar levels of dissatisfaction.
“A lot of people in politics are saying, ‘I don’t know who to vote for’,” Dr Jones told the ABC.
“It’s like a lot of kids that grew up with the Beatles and said, ‘Who is this guy?'”
Dr Jones said that while political views may be evolving, the underlying reasons for them remained the same.
“There’s a lot that people feel very strongly about and they can’t just dismiss them as a ‘political opinion’,” he said.
“We are talking about issues that affect the whole country, and there are people who will be more concerned about the issues they care about.”
For the study, Dr Jones surveyed 2,500 Australians aged 18 and over in December 2017 and asked them to rate their personal political views on a scale of 0 to 100.
In the end, about half of the participants were satisfied or very satisfied with their political views.
The rest were dissatisfied.
“For a lot people, there’s no clear path out of the political arena,” Dr Jones says.
“Some of them might be more comfortable with the direction that a particular party is going, or they may be more satisfied with certain aspects of their own party.”
He said while there was no one perfect political party, there was an increasing number of Australians who felt strongly about their political stance.
“I think we’re in a very interesting time in Australia right now,” he said, “where we are seeing a significant shift in the way Australians think about their own political views and how they express them.”
Dr Jones also found a significant decline in the proportion who said they were satisfied that their views reflected the views of the majority of the Australian population.
In 2017, the majority held that their political opinions were representative of the country, with 41% of people saying they were very satisfied and 45% saying they held an average or somewhat above average view.
In 2020, that number dropped to 33% and 32% respectively.
However in 2017 there was a huge shift in sentiment, with 46% saying that their personal views were not representative of Australian society and just 34% saying it was.
Dr Jones points out that although this may be a trend in Australia, the study is not unique to the country.
“In a lot more countries around the world, political views are declining and people are saying ‘I want to get out of this and don’t care if they don’t agree with me’,” he says.