But Scottish and younger people are less sure
UnHerd’s latest polling — powered by my firm Focaldata — contains some superficially good news for the King and his supporters. When presented with the statement ‘It’s a good thing Britain has a monarchy’, 55% of respondents agree, and 30% agree strongly. Just 18% of the population disagree, while 26% aren’t sure. These latest results from UnHerd Britain demonstrate that monarchist beliefs are widely held between different age groups, and across the political and socio-economic divides, even after the death of the enormously popular Queen Elizabeth II.
Our polling looked at responses from 10,000 voters and used MRP to produce estimates for all 632 constituencies in Great Britain, excluding the Northern Irish constituencies which are more difficult to estimate in such a way. All 632 contain more supporters of the monarchy than those who disagreed with our question. Even in Glasgow Central, Britain’s most republican constituency, 31% think that the monarchy is not a good thing, compared to 37% who think it is.
This is worth emphasising, given that all three of the SNP candidates for First Minister have been very equivocal on the issue of keeping the monarchy in an independent Scotland. As with trans issues previously, SNP supporters are split, with 33% regarding the monarchy as a good thing, 43% believing the opposite and 24% not sure. It is noteworthy that 53 of the top 100 monarchy-sceptic seats are in Scotland, extraordinary given that there are only 59 seats north of the border.
It’s not just SNP supporters the King should be concerned about. The age curve on this issue is one of the strongest of all the MRP models UnHerd has produced. While voters over 65 are pro-monarchy by 47% (63% vs 16%), amongst the youngest 18-25 age bracket this lead shrinks to just 24% (46% vs 22%). This might not indicate the introduction of a republic anytime soon, but it does suggest that a more ambivalent relationship with the institution among Britons may grow over time. Indeed, the younger generation is more likely to be apathetic, with a third neither agreeing nor disagreeing. This figure progressively shrinks, from 31% of the 25-34 group to 21% of those aged 65 and over.
Our modelling shows that monarchists are more likely to be Conservatives, with 75% in favour of royalty and 9% against among 2019 Tory voters. Of the top 100 pro-monarchy seats in the country, 99 are Conservative (Tim Farron’s seat of Westmorland & Lonsdale being the exception), with an average Conservative majority of 38%. Of these, 84 were Conservative-held back in 2010. That 47% of Labour supporters favour the monarchy and 27% oppose may explain Keir Starmer’s newfound enthusiasm for the institution.
Castle Point, in Essex, is the UK’s most monarchist constituency, with three of the next five on the list also situated in that county. That doesn’t include fifth-placed Hornchurch & Upminster, which is the easternmost seat in Greater London and lies on the border with Essex. Only eighth-placed South Holland & the Deepings, which is in Lincolnshire, is not in the south of England among the top ten.
By contrast, all but one of the most monarchy-sceptic seats are held by one of the traffic-light parties of SNP, Plaid, Green or Labour, with the exception of the hyper-marginal Tory seat of Cities of London and Westminster. The Conservatives are on average 36 points behind the winner in these, an almost perfect inversion of the monarchist seats. Still, over half of Green, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru voters all support the monarchy: 52%, 60% and 56% respectively.
One finding not immediately obvious from these results is that the 26% of Britons who are neutral on the monarchy appear to be closer to detractors than supporters. All of the most monarchy-sceptic areas — Liverpool, Scotland, inner-city Birmingham and Manchester — have a much higher number of neutrals as well, suggesting stronger latent demographic support for republicanism than we might assume. The seats with the highest number of undecided respondents are urban, with a larger proportion of ethnic-minority and student constituents: Sheffield Central, West Ham, Leicester South, Southwark & Bermondsey, and Holborn & St Pancras come out as the five most neutral areas.
Support for the monarchy is slowly eroding, then, but given the level of stability in the polling since we tested the same issue in 2019, there is clearly a good deal of resilience in the royal brand, undamaged by a change of monarch and the expulsion of some of the more troublesome members of the family. Whilst the King has little to fear in the near future, the succeeding generation may find the status quo harder to maintain.