The credibility of opinion polling depends very much not only on the sample, but also on the wording of the question.
When it comes to republicanism, questions based on the word “republic,” without some qualification, are not of much use.
The same is of course equally true of plebiscites.
The recent Morgan Poll on this described the sort of republic in contemplation, choosing the model widely believed to be the most popular.
Having failed with the politicians’ republic in 1999, this is the one which many in the republican movement now think will get them over the line.
The question was ““In your opinion, should Australia remain a MONARCHY — or become a REPUBLIC with an elected President?”
As we reported here on 8 May 2008 ( “Collapse! Young Australians kill off republic”), those who support the most popular form of republic have fallen to 45%, and among those aged 14- 17, to 23%.
…survey on patriotism…
The reliability of polling came up when ACM’s International Convener George Bougias recently referred to the latest annual survey on patriotism in different countries by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC).
The survey results are published in a report by Sara Pardys ( “World's Most And Least Patriotic Countries” ) in Forbes Magazine on line, 2 July 2008.
The survey examined two factors: how proud respondents said they were to live in their respective countries, and whether they considered their own countries superior or inferior relative to other countries.
For one part of the survey, respondents had to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with five statements, for example: "I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world" and "There are some things about my country today that make me ashamed."
This seems a thorough way of assessing people’s attitudes on this issue.
George Bougias points out that the survey finds that three Constitutional Monarchies with Her Majesty as Sovereign (Australia, Canada and New Zealand) are amongst the ten most patriotic countries in the world.
“Australia is right up there, he says citing the report’s description of Australia as “ a nation-state that gained independence from Great Britain in 1901, follows the United States in the most-patriotic rankings"
“Seems like the only ones ashamed of the Crown, the flag and Australia are Kevin Rudd and his friends from the 2020 summit….not to mention his choice for the head of the High Court who is dreaming about a 'new republic'…..dream on……,” concludes Mr Bougias on the Monarchist Alliance web page.
…poll on ETS….
Contrast that with a question recently asked about the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme.
Of course ACM has no position on this issue.
But according to media reports, a recent poll indicates Australians overwhelmingly support the introduction of such a scheme.
It was not until I saw a commentary on the scheme by Terry Mc Crann in the Herald Sun on 29 July 2008, “Emissions Omissions,” that I read the question which respondents were asked.
This was “The government has proposed a scheme to ‘address climate change, which would make 1000 of Australia's largest carbon polluters pay for the carbon they produce’. When would you like to see it start?”
Sixty nine per cent said as soon as possible.
Terry McCrann, who opposes the scheme, argues the question is akin to push polling.