THIS is the latest report in the ACM's series on opinion polling which can be accessed through the fontpage icon in the left hand column, " Opinion Polling"
The Newspoll (25/4) showing the lowest support in seventeen years for some vague undefined politicians’ republic was widely reported in the media across the nation and overseas. ACM received over a dozen calls from the media.
Ignoring the long term trend in the polls, a clearly troubled republican movement now says the Newspoll result is all because of the Royal Wedding.
But until now their spokesman has been saying the opposite. The wedding Deputy Chair Professor Warhurst has been saying this is the ideal time to campaign to “dethrone the monarchy”.
In the popular Strewth column in The Australian (26/4) , Graeme Leech says that the poll had disappointed anti-monarchists struggling against “the tide of sentimentalism that is the royal wedding.”
“We asked monarchist David Flint if there were any gloating among members of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy.
“‘No gloating because it is what we expected,’ Flint says. ‘Susan Ryan and Nicola Roxon said all they had to do was wait until my generation drop off the perch. Wrong. Polling as long ago as the referendum revealed a bell-shaped curve with the young and the old recording lower support.’
“The closest to a gloat is his imagery of republicans chanting: ‘We want a republic, we haven't the foggiest idea what sort of republic or flag we want.’”
In the same issue, under the headline “Monarchists vindicated in survey, David Flint claims,” Ben Packham reports that monarchists have seized on the Newspoll as a major setback for the republican cause. His report continued:-
“But the Australian Republican Movement said more voters were in favour of a republic than not, and undecided voters could be swayed in the event of a new republic debate. ‘The more people know about this issue and the more they understand the issues, the more likely they are to support a republic,’ ARM chairman Mike Keating said."
Experience shows that the undecided in polls tend to move more to the No side at the vote in a referendum. In fact many of the “undecided” prefer not to indicate the way they d as broadcaster Alan Jones observed in 1999, “If you don’t know, vote No.” Others are persuaded after they have heard both sides.
“Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy convenor David Flint said the ambivalence of young people on the question of a republic showed fundamental constitutional change was becoming increasingly unlikely.“Support for a republic was highest among the middle-aged.“Professor Flint said the poll reflected a long-term trend."’There is the royal wedding but I think the trend was there even before the wedding," he said.”"It’s not as though it's suddenly swung the polls."
…..republicans try to have it both ways…
The ARM leaders Major General Keating told Mr. Packham: "When these polls are put out at times like a week before this royal wedding, it is likely that the readings are not going to be particularly consistent."
That is not the line the ARM has been pushing. Writing in the Canberra Times on Thursday 24 March (“King William? No thank you”) Professor John Warhurst, deputy leader of the republican movement repeated a theme he had argued for months:
“As the Royal wedding looms, there is no better time than now to dethrone the monarchy and for Australia to finally become a republic.”
The message could not have been clearer. ( See “Republican movement tells the BBC one thing, the ABC and Canberra Times the opposite,” 19 April 2011) .