“The media storm over the alleged treatment of a few Australian spectators at Rugby World Cup matches is not backed up at all by a scientific survey of New Zealanders attitudes toward Australians” says Stephen Mills, Executive Director of Australasian Research Agency UMR Research.
On the crunch question of who New Zealanders are going to support in the Australia versus South Africa Rugby World Cup quarter-final 63% went for Australia and 25% for South Africa.
The favourability rating for Australia was by far the highest of the 16 nations tested.
At 74% favourable; 8% unfavourable it was clearly higher than England at 51% favourable; 15% unfavourable and much higher than the United States 33% favourable; 32% unfavourable. South Africa came in even lower at 24% favourable; 32% unfavourable.
46% of New Zealanders indicated that they generally support Australia in major sporting contest when Australia is not playing against New Zealand and 33% that they generally support other countries.
One possible worrying point for Australia/New Zealand relations is that younger New Zealanders seem less keen on Australia than older New Zealanders.
When asked, for instance, who they would support in matches between Australia and other nations not involving New Zealand 58% of over 60 year old New Zealanders would support Australia and 19% whoever is playing Australia. Amongst 18 to 29 year olds, 43% would support Australia and 42% whoever Australia was playing against.