Support for a republic has collapsed among young Australians. The latest Morgan Poll also shows a referendum will be lost on whatever model is put to the people.
Worse for republicans, it also means their silver bullet, a plebiscite would also go down.
Kevin Rudd will be thinking twice about running one with the next election. If he doesn’t, his minders will.
A vote on a republic will not be like a vote, say, on the retiring ages of judges. Nothing will excite the media more. So it will soak up too much valuable media time, and this on an exercise he is doomed to lose.
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The latest Morgan Poll shows the young especially can’t see the point of a republic. Those who say, like Nicola Roxon, that no new monarchists are being born, will have to revise their views.
Even at the time of the referendum, polling showed that the strongest support for a republic came from the Baby Boomers, especially those in inner city electorates. The young voters have always been less interested. And the trend since then has been down. The West Australian 2006 survey of youth attitudes showed that support for a republic in the 18-30 age group had fallen to 38%.
Then the Morgan poll of 22 February 2005 found that only 37% of those aged 14-17 were in favour of a republic. Now in 2008, this has fallen to a dismal 23%, with 64% supporting the constitutional monarchy and 13% undecided.
Some undecided voters may be just unwilling to reveal their intentions; in any event they tend to vote No in a referendum. The overall result is equally dismal for republicans. Support for a republic is at 45%, the lowest for 15 years.
Apart from the youth vote, the Morgan Poll is bad news for those republicans who say John Howard tricked voters in 1999 with the model. Of course he didn’t. The model was the choice of the overwhelming majority of republicans at the 1998 Convention.
The point is that unlike Newspoll which does not define the word “republic” in its question, Morgan refers to the supposedly most popular model, the one where the people elect the president. Take the polls together and you have to conclude no model will get up.
These results contrast glaringly with the 2020 Summit where the governance panel voted 98:1 with one abstention in favour of republican change. Actually they recommended ending links with the UK. This was curious for such a gathering.
The last links went in 1986.