Support for a republic is definitely trending down, a university study has confirmed today. The bad news for republicans is that this conclusion is supported by all polls and all surveys.
(The other bad news for republicans is that where youth opinions are separated, there seems to be little support for a republic certainly lower than among the middle-aged and in one recent survey published this month in Fairfax,even lower than among the elderly. )
The university study finds that over the period 1998 to 2013 support for a republic fell from 68% to 53%.
These levels should offer little solace to republicans, as they are usually over 10% higher than support as measured in in most opinion polls.
…Australian Election Study ….
The survey from researchers at the Australian National University , Trends in Australian Public Opinion, 1987-2013 is based on their Australian Election Study taken after each election.
Each study involves sending out a very large questionnaire to a number of people. I understand that the answers are weighted to make it a sample of the general population. I have no doubt every effort is made to reflect national opinions. I just don't think it has been successful.
The difficulty I have with it is that a person who is willing to fill out such a large form is unusual. He or she will hardly be a typical Australian.( I had a similar problem with the deliberative vote before the referendum. This required giving up and paying for a weekend in Canberra to discuss the referendum. A worthy activity undertaken but one undertaken by , let us say, people who are obviously not typical.)
In any event, whether it was the process or the question asked, the Survey in 1998 recorded a republican vote about 23% above the referendum vote in 1999.
In my opinion, each Election Study since has overestimated republican support in comparison with polling by most public pollsters – Morgan, Newspoll, Fairfax-Nielson, Galaxy, Essential Media and ReachTEL.
All are showing support for a vague undefined republic is now around 40% or less.
(Another pollster, one often commissioned by the ARM to do polls, is an exception. It usually finds that support for a republic is higher than other pollsters do. This is UMR, whose latest relevant finding – in 2012- was that support for a vague republic was 48%, lower than the level it found in on the 10th anniversary of the referendum.)