Poll shows nationwide backing for monarchy
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.
Yet another poll and analysis which simply ignores the well understood fact that young people’s views don’t stay the same as they grow older and accumulate greater experience and responsibilities.
I’m still not really a monarchist, but I’ve slowly drifted from being strongly republican to “this is the least worst option, so there’s no point changing” over two decades. I can’t believe this is unique.
You do sometimes wonder if the people doing this research are themselves too young and inexperienced to be aware of these things.
Can’t say I’m less of a republican as I get older but the last thing this country needs right now is a presidential election.
Even King Harry and Queen Meghan would be preferable to President Blair.
Oh good grief, the prospect of King Harry and Queen Meghan would turn me into a raging republican on the spot.
I didn’t say that I welcomed the prospect, but Blair- dear God.
So: No President Corbyn for you then
Constitutional monarchy is the best option anyone has come up with so far. I’m open to other systems, but not any that exist at the moment; presidential systems are generally terrible.
The YouGov polls from ten years ago put support for the monarchy as more or less the same in all age groups. It’s only recently the young opinion has shifted (though the Unherd poll suggests this shift is less dramatic than YouGov would have you think).
I’ve gone from practically summoning the tumbrels when I was 16 to organising a Coronation party aged 50.
I’ve always been a monarchist. As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown both more critical of it and yet more aware of the advantages. Especially during the most intense Brexit years, I felt it was a huge advantage to have state representatives that were removed from the political fray.
Exactly my point above which I posted before reading yours about a settled opinion. I too pointed out (as you have) none of the similar articles I have read seem to understand “opinions change”
Even as someone who has never held republican views on this issue, the older I’ve got, the more I’ve seen the benefits of constitutional monarchy in action. Out of all our institutions, it’s pretty much the only one that is capable of broadly unifying people and has respect from the public. How anyone thinks another politician will be able to achieve that is beyond me.
As people get older and see how abysmal most of our politicians are, they realise this.
Doesn’t augur well for Queen Nicola then?
She wont be Queen – she (may) be “President for Life” or some other such title. Doubtless interfering in the day to day running of Scotlands elected executive.
She would not be able to help herself.
Well, the alternative of an elected head of state is not exactly without drawbacks, is it?
I get exasperated when I read things like this. It is cheap journalism and tries to make points which are not really there. It shows one thing – that Scotland sees itself as independent of the British system. But didn’t we already know that?
If Scotland had a sensible leader, one who didn’t stand out as an idiot, one who didn’t go chasing the latest fashions, one who led the country without making independence a personal thing, one who led by being totally innocuous, one who irritated no-one, … then Scotland would be a lot closer to independence. They need someone like, er, that bloke in Wales.
The point about the monarchy being less popular than in 2019 needs no discussion at all.
The point about age shows only that young people don’t know. Surely, a healthy attitude.
Its hardly surprising many younger people “dont know” whether Monarchy is a good thing.
I think your article (as do many similar ones) appear to make a presumption that “the block thinking of the young” will move through their lives. It doesn’t. People change their minds.
The reason I believe there are fewer older “dont knows” is that block has had a great deal of experience of “life” and perhaps are more sure than anything of their settled opinion.
No one is saying Royals can do no wrong – or dont screw up on occasion (they are human) – but seeing the continuing shenanigans of “here to day gone tomorrow” (to coin a phrase) politicians – its just possible older generation’s prefer the powerless stability of a Monarch – especially in the form of our much admired late Queen
The alternative to a monarchy is unthinkable.
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