We have seen three polls this year on support for constitutional change to a republic , that is changing our Federal Commonwealth under the Crown to a politicians’ republic.
Opinion polls typically exaggerate support for a referendum. This is not because they are wrong.
First the question in the poll may be different than that in the referendum. Then, people have not heard the debate which precedes the vote. People may not be inclined to reveal their intentions especially if the media has determined that a No vote is unfashionable and worse, wrong. Finally, voting in a referendum is a serious and final act.
..referendum, plebiscite would be defeated…
On these results, a referendum would be overwhelmingly defeated. As would a plebiscite – however much the spin doctors worked on the question.
While Essential and UMR are about a vague undefined republic, Morgan’s question is about a republic with an elected president, which many assume to be the most popular model.
I agree with Professor Craven that if this model were put to the people, it would result in a greater defeat than in 1999. This is because most of the republican politicians and many in the media would argue strongly against it.
….long term decline in republican support…
I can see no reason to change our assessment of many years now that since a few years after the 1999 referendum, there has been a long term decline in support for some vague undefined ’ republic.
The graph above demonstrates this clearly. It is of three polls over time, Morgan, NewsPoll and UMR. Apart from asking different questions, NewsPoll is always by telephone, Morgan sometimes face-to- face and sometimes by phone, and UMR online. All use a scientifically selected sample.
Where two polls have been undertaken in one year we have chosen the one which indicates greater support for a republic.
Thus In 1999, a July Newspoll showed 46% support, but in August this rose to 52%. In 2009, a poll by UMR in May found 51% support. This rose to a frankly unbelievable 59% in October – just in time for the 10th anniversary of the referendum.
UMR consistently registers higher support for a republic, but the November poll suggests a “rogue” poll .This is one which despite the best intentions, is likely to be wrong.
Nevertheless, the ARM and media relayed it around the world.
Two other polls appear once on the graph, but there is no line, so you will struggle to see them.
These were Galaxy’s in 2010 which found 44% support, and Essential Media’s in 2012 which found 39% support.
Not on the graph is The Age and Herald Neilson Poll in 2008 which found 52% support. This was substantially higher than Morgan’s at 45% and a Newspoll of the previous year, also at 45% .
What is important is the trend across polls and over time. This indicates support for a politicians’ republic has trended down since the referendum.
There is one further point.
Polling continues to indicate a bell shaped curve revealing lower support among the young and continuing strong opposition among the aged. In the latest poll showing this, the Morgan Poll in 2011, support for a politicians’ republic among new immigrants seems even lower (28%).
On these results , constitutional monarchists have every reason to be pleased.
The republican politicians’ disinterest in the subject confirms that their private polling indicates they should not touch this issue.