June 18

Not inevitable and never was


Glance at the red line in the graph below and rejoice. Support for a republic among the young has well and truly collapsed.

Although the ARM hasn’t, the media may, at last, have woken up to something we have been pointing out here for years.

This is that the strongest support for a  politicians’ republic has been almost always among the middle-aged and not the young. The red line shows that.

Interest among our youth has been falling significantly over an extended period of time, and from well before the young royals came on to the scene as personalities in their own right.

…referendum campaign…

In the 90s, as we campaigned against the attempt to impose some form of politicians’ republic on the nation, the various pollsters began to pay increasing attention to the issue. But most in the media and curiously, in the Australian Republican Movement, missed or glossed over the data about youth support.

Was it because they wanted to believe that our youth were dreaming about the advent of a politicians’ republic?

When the official Vote Yes and Vote No Referendum Committees were appointed, the Vote No Committee undertook its own polling. (It was chaired by ACM’s executive director, Kerry Jones, and all members but two independent republicans were from ACM.)

One thing caught my eye in both the public and the No Committee polls whenever the ages of the respondents were shown.

…republicans in denial…

As you would expect the older voters were the most opposed.

But it was not the young who were the most republican. It was the middle-aged (and especially males in inner city electorates).

The ARM still hasn’t caught up with this crucial fact.

Recently in a debate broadcast on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 ( podcast 260314) on Neil Mitchell’s program on Melbourne’s highest rating talkback station 3AW, ACM’s  Jai Martinkovits said that support for a politicians’ republic among the young was low and that this was a time bomb for the republicans.

The  current leader of the republican movement, David Morris, replied by saying:”Young people are the most republican and Jai knows that every poll in the last 30 years has shown that.”

…welcome development…

The ARM has apparently also not noticed that in the last year or so, there has been a further, and to us, welcome development.

The young have now replaced the elderly as the least republican age group. The details are on our site in the section on opinion polling.

The above table was prepared from various Fairfax Nielsen polls by Mallory Brangan for the Fairfax newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age both of which are now very republican. So it is to their credit that they actually published this.

Although this graph is only based on one pollster – Fairfax Nielsen –  there is a broad similarity on this issue between most of the polls, Morgan, Newspoll and now Essential.

 …flush with funds…

The sole exception to the similar findings among pollsters is  UMR, which has been commissioned by the  ARM to undertake various polls. (On one occasion the poll was released to a gullible media without even revealing the question.)

It seems, incidentally, that the ARM is as flush with funds as when Malcolm Turnbull was its major and generous benefactor. UMR usually records a higher level of republican support than most other pollsters. Even then, its latest polling offers little solace for the republicans.

The graph shows that around the referendum, youth support for a republic fell below general support by up to seven points.

After the referendum, youth support rose slightly above the general level but from 2003  fell at a greater rate than for the total population.  There is now a 16 point difference between them.  Youth support for a politicians’ republic is now estimated by Nielson ro about 27%. General support is estimated to be to 43%.

In a referendum on a specific model this would probably fall by around 10 points. That’s why a referendum or even a blank cheque plebiscite is most unlikely.

… youth support collapsing…

Youth support has been falling more sharply than general support. It has  heading in one direction since soon after the referendum – down.

This is a disaster for republicans. No wonder the ARM and its leader David Morris is in denial.

Some years ago the passionate republican MP and former Attorney General  Nicola Roxon famously said: “No new monarchists are being born.”

And former Senator Susan Ryan rather cruelly quipped soon after the referendum that the republicans only had to wait until my generation of monarchists “fall off the perch.”

So much for their inevitable politicians’ republic.


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