January 21

Nauseatingly conservative?


What's wrong with the youth these days, asked Alecia Simmonds in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2013.  “Why are they so nauseatingly conservative?”

If opposing the shredding of our flag or the gutting of our Constitution is being conservative, the young people of Australia have long demonstrated that they are more likely to oppose change than, say, the middle-aged,  especially those in the inner city electorates in the Melbourne/ Sydney/ Canberra triangle.

It is a pity some prominent republicans – including politicians –  assume that they have the youth vote in the bag, They don't – and if they did some research before speaking they would save being embarassed. 

…referendum research…

ACM first noticed this phenomenon during the referendum campaign. The government had established Vote Yes and Vote No committees to manage the public advertising for  both cases in the campaign. These were allocated in proportion to the number of votes received in the election for the 1998 Constitutional Convention.

 As ACM had won over 72% of the constitutional monarchist vote, all eight monarchist seats on the Vote No committee were allocated to ACM delegates to the convention. (The other two went to independent republicans wanting the president to be directly elected and campaigning against the ARM’s preferred republican model, the Keating Turnbull republic.)

Polling and other surveys undertaken by the Vote No committee  indicated that the aged and then the young were less supportive of constitutional change. The strongest republican areas were in the inner city electorates in the Melbourne/ Sydney/ Canberra triangle .

…polling since…

Since then, some of the public polls have produced information on the attitudes of different age groups.

These have invariably found that youth support for change is lower than that among  the middle-aged. The course does not mean that every middle-aged person supports change to some form of a politicians’ republic – there are many middle-aged supporters of the present constitution and flag.

…Royal Tour 2011 poll…..

The latest  example of this polling was in late  2011.

In 2011, in preparation for the Royal Tour, we suggested to Roy Morgan Research that they survey the trends in polling since the referendum. They took a new poll and found that among the general population, support for a politicians’ republic had fallen to a low 34%. This made news around the world.

There was every indication from trend lines that support over time that would most likely fall further. (That an opinion poll in 2012 indicated support The poll also confirmed that support for a politicians’ republic was lower than general support.  Support among the young was three points lower at 31%.

…consistent trend…

If you look at the section on polling on the ACM site you will see that this trend has been consistent over the years. Let’s take one example. This was the UMR 2012 poll, which consistently registers higher support for a Republic than any of the other polls. It uses a computer based sample rather than the telephone polling used by most of the pollsters, with the Morgan poll also using face-to-face polling.

In research commissioned by the Australian Republican movement, the UMR poll found that support for a Republic among the young was significantly lower than among two groups of the middle-aged but above that of the elderly. Put on the graph this is symbolised by what is called a bell shaped curve. The curve goes up in the middle to record the middle-aged support for a Republic and down at the two ends according to the lower support among the youth and the elderly.

The fact is that every poll on record producers such a bell shaped curve.

It makes you wonder why prominent Republicans don’t research the issue before they jump to conclusions.

This makes a mockery of former Senator Susan Ryan's observation that she the Republicans only had to wait until my generation passed on –“dropped off the perch” were the words I recall.

It also makes a mockery of the Attorney General  Nicola Roxon’s barb made years ago that "no new monarchists are being born."

They are, Madame Attorney, they are.


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