Support for a republic – as we would say, a politicians' republic – has crashed even further. It is now lower than at any time since the republican push in the nineties. And support for the monarchy has increased among the young.
It is reasonable to conclude that if a referendum were to be held now, the Yes vote would be likely to be below 25%.
We can thank the ABC for this interesting information, and our conclusions on the facts they reveal.
..ABC Vote Compass…
It all began with the ABC introducing a very interesting project in the 2013 election. This was Vote Compass. It was an online exercise for Australians to find out how their views compare with the official policies of the political parties.
They had a very large number of responses – 1.4 million.
One of the questions caught my eye at the time. Respondents were asked for their views on this statement: "Australia should end the monarchy and become a republic."
The ABC has allocated answers into one of five groups – "strongly agree'' ''somewhat agree'' ''strongly disagree'' ''somewhat disagree'' and ''undecided''.
The first thing you should note is that this is a question for a plebiscite. (ACM is the only organisation to have been consistently opposed to a plebiscite.) Now a referendum on this issue would have to precisely indicate the form of the politicians' republic proposed, whereas a plebiscite uses the vague word ''republic''. (As readers will know several leading monarchists use the term ''crowned republic' to describe the present constitution.)
For reasons explained in the section of the ACM site on opinion polling, we can assume that in a referendum the undecided will tend to vote No.
As a predictor of the result in a referendum, the crucial information then is the support for a republic, not support for the monarchy.
As regards the overall response the ABC concludes that support for a republic appears to have waned since the 1999 referendum, with only 38 per cent of Vote Compass respondents in favour of cutting Australia's ties to the monarchy.
But of these 38%, 15% only agree ''somewhat'' with the proposition. As we point out in the opinion polling section on our site, after the public have been exposed to a debate the Yes vote falls from what is recorded in earlier opinion polling . It would therefore be likely that a number of the 15% who indicate they are only somewhat in agreement would swing across to the No vote.
It is reasonable therefore to conclude on these figures that if a plebiscite were held now the actual vote would not be 38% but would fall somewhere in the range of 25% to 30% . The plebiscite would clearly be lost.
This means that if a referendum were to be held on a specific form of a republic the vote would be lower. In fact the referendum would probably not be held because of such a clear defeat in the plebiscite.
It is therefore reasonable to conclude that were a referendum to be held now, the vote in support of a specific form of politicians' would probably be below 25%.
The collapse in overall support for a Republic confirms what the polls have been indicating. The trend across the polls and over time has been down.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Vote Compass exercise is as the ABC says, suggests young people are less likely than the over 55s to support a republic, possibly reflecting a surge of interest in the younger members of the Royal Family..
We have long argued that support according to age for a republic is a bell shaped curve with support lowest at the two ends the oldest of the youngest. This still confirms this phenomenon.
The Vote Compass offers interactive charts to examine how people voted according to a number of criteria- Age, Education, Gender, Ideology, Income, State, Political Interest, Rural vs. Urban, Religion, Industry, Marriage, State, Vote Intention and Language. Politicians who adopt planning Australia into some form of politicians Republic as part of the agenda should beware. In all these criteria there is a significant number of people who strongly disagree with the Republican proposition, even in relation to the criterion Ideology.