A friend phoned the other day to tell me about a guest lecture he had just delivered at one of our leading universities.
He was once a senior journalist on a particular broadsheet. Following the newspaper’s line, indeed that of most in the media, he was in favour of a republic. (More precisely, a politicians’ republic.)
“How different it is with the young today,” he said. “Twenty years or so ago they would have all been republican.”
“Today, only a tiny minority showed any interest at all. They weren’t all fervent monarchists.”
” In fact probably most weren’t. But they just couldn’t see the point of change and were perfectly happy with the existing system and rather liked the Royal Family. Other things concerned them, but not the Crown.”
As were campaigning at ACM, we found that compared with the middle-aged inner city elites, a lack of interest in change among the young was already emerging in polls around the referendum.
This intensified over the years, but was dismissed by the republicans and most in the media. Assumptions were given more weight than scientific fact as evidence in opinion polls.
In 2011, in preparation for the Royal Tour, we asked Morgan to survey the trends in polling since the referendum. They took a new poll and found that in the general population support for a politicians’ republic had fallen to a low 34%. This made news around the world.
There was every indication from trend lines that support would most likely fall further. The poll also confirmed that support for a politicians’ republic was lower than general support. Support among the young was three points lower at 31%.
If you look at the section on polling on the ACM site you will see that this trend has been consistent over the years.
It makes a mockery of former Senator Susan Ryan’s observation that she the Republicans only had to wait until my generation passed on –“dropped off the perch” were the words I recall.
It also makes a mockery of the Attorney General Nicola Roxon’s barb made years ago that “no new monarchists are being born.”
They are, Madame Attorney, they are.