Australian Electorate Split on Republic Referendum

Just under 50% of Australians Want a Republic Referendum in the Next 5 Years

Almost 50% of Australians believe a Republic referendum should be held in the next five years, according to new research from DemosAU.

DemosAU surveyed 1300 Australians between January 8 and 12 and asked them if a referendum on changing from Monarchy to a Republic should be held in the next five years.

The results showed 47% of Australians believed a Republic referendum should be held within the next 5 years, while 39% disagreed and 14% said they didn’t know.

There was majority support for holding a referendum among a range of demographics, including men, people aged 18-44, people living in the inner city and Labor and Greens supporters.

The research comes as media reports suggest the Albanese Government has shelved plans to hold a Republic referendum if re-elected for a second term, following the failure of last year’s Voice referendum.

Left leaning voters remain strongly in favour of a Republic referendum being held in the next five years, with Labor voters in favour 58-28, Greens voters in favour 62-27. One Nation voters are narrowly in favour 47-42 compared to Coalition voters leaning to opposition 39-52. Others (39-45) and Undecided voters (34-33) were more mixed in their attitudes.

Respondents were also presented with five possible models for a Republic and asked whether they would support a change to a republic or would prefer to keep the monarchy if presented with each option at a referendum.

The results showed 53% of respondents would support at least one model, but support for keeping the monarchy was higher than support for any individual option.

The most popular option among respondents was a directly elected president with an open nomination process, with 38% supporting a change to a Republic under these circumstances, and 41% preferring to keep the Monarchy

The second most popular option was a directly elected President that replaced the Prime Minister as Head of Government, similar to the US model, followed by the ARM’s hybrid Australian Choice model, the 1999 referendum model and the McGarvie model put forward by the late former Victorian Governor Richard McGarvie.

DemosAU Head of Research George Hasanakos said the results of the poll indicated a paradox at the heart of the push for a republic.

“The paradox in these poll results is that the share of respondents who want a Republic referendum in the next 5 years well outpaces support for any single model,” he said.

“Further, 53 % of Australians support at least one model, but there is no absolute majority behind a specifc model.”

“There are many respondents who are willing to support some republican models but will outright reject others. Yet this group of respondents are largely in favour of having a referendum in the next 5 years”.

Mr Hasanakos said the poll results showed the Australian Republican Movement’s preferred “Australian Choice” Model wasn’t resonating with the public.

“The ARM “Australian Choice” model was designed to bridge the divide between Direct Election and Minimalist Republicans. However, when put to Australians, the model still retains some of the popular stigma against minimalist models. Based on this poll, “Australian Choice” would likely fail at a Republic referendum.”

He said there was greater support for a directly elected President among the public than among the political class.

“The idea of electing a President to replace the Prime Minister as Head of Government has very little support in political circles yet this research show it has more support than less radical options for change,” he said.

Mr Hasanakos said community attitudes towards the Republic following similar dividing lines to the Voice referendum.

“The demographic and political cleavages we saw at the Voice Referendum are still present; older and outer metro, regional and Coalition voters are more likely to opt to retain the Monarchy,” he said,

The notable difference is that men are more likely to support a change to a Republic than women which is reverse of the usual left vs right leans of the genders.”

You can find our methodology statement here.

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