We have attempted to draw out 15 points from opinion polls on constitutional change. But we are not authorities in this area; we must look to the experts. We are finding that the experts seem to be in agreement with our analysis.
The considered opinions of Australia's oldest polling organisation, the respected and influential Roy Morgan Research have been reassuring. Now The Australian's expert agrees with some of our principal findings.
In the section on opinion polling on the site we have said that those who are uncommitted in a poll tend to vote No.
In his “Mumble” blog on The Australian site on 21 October 2011 Peter Brent comes to a similar conclusion (“Republic? Don’t hold your breath.”) He traces Newspoll from 1987 to 2011 and on the assumption that the uncommitted voter will vote No, he concludes that “support for a (politicians’) republic, even at its height, barely scraped above 50 percent”.
We have also been saying that “polling continues to indicate a bell shaped curve revealing lower support among the young and continuing strong opposition among the aged”.
Peter Brent agrees.
He also seems to agree with three points:
First, once a republican model is announced, the Condorcet principle espoused by psephologist Malcolm Mackerras applies and support falls further ( that is a significant number of republicans will prefer the constitutional monarchy over the opposing model).
Second, interest in republican change is generally weak. Those who describe themselves as strong supporters in the April 2011 Newpoll were down to 25%.
Third, and worse for the republicans, they were down to 20% among the young.
..no passion among passionate republicans…
In addition, the contrasting experience of ACM and the republicans in calling for public demonstrations supports this conclusion.
ACM called a demonstration in 1996 concerning the expulsion of the New South Wales Governors from Government House. More than 20,000 people came out in one of the largest and most peaceful demonstrations said he had seen in recent years.
Just before the 1999 referendum, with considerable media advertising, the republicans called a demonstration in Parramatta Park at lunchtime on a Friday. It was to be addressed by Republican celebrities. Those attending, including the media and the Republican celebrities totalled…. about 70. Including the republican celebrities. Needless to say there were no media reports about this on the evening television news.
At the end of their 2005 Mate for a Head of State campaign, the Republicans announced through the media that they would be a sausage sizzle at North Bondi overlooking the beach on the Sunday before Australia Day. Including the republican heavyweights, The Australian reported the attendance at …about 50.
There's no passion – no passion at all – in Australia for change to a politician's republic.
…no support among the young…
The third point of agreement with the experts is that polling continues to indicate a bell shaped curve revealing lower support among the young and continuing strong opposition among the aged.
Peter Brent says that “young people don’t seem to give a damn.
"The most recent Newspoll (linked above) has small sample numbers for each subgroup but the pattern is also found in early surveys: the 35–49 group is most in favour and support among the 18–34s is about the same as the 50+s.”
“Some would say this is because youngsters are more practical and non-ideological than their baby boomer parents and see the common sense in retaining the status quo.
“Others might reckon young people these days are vacuous and celebrity-obsessed and only interested in their iPhones; they’d rather it was Brad and Angelina but will settle for William and Kate.
“I couldn’t possibly comment,” he concludes.