Over the last a week or so there has been huge amounts of polling on the Jubilee and the royal family. We have polls from Ipsos MORI, from ICM in the Guardian, three lots from YouGov (summarised here), Populus for the Times here and ComRes in the Indy.
All the polls show much the same thing. The monarchy is overwhelmingly popular – with between 73-82% supporting keeping the monarchy and only 13-18% supporting replacing it with an elected president.
The Queen herself is extremely well respected. 76-86% think she has done a good job, only 5-10% think she has done badly. Even amongst people who support an elected head of state, 61% think the Queen personally has done a good job.
People are less positive about Charles. Many of the polls have asked questions along the lines of whether Charles should become King when the Queen dies, or should step aside in favour of Prince William (whose own ratings are extremely high). Between 40% (MORI) and 48% (ICM) think the throne should skip a generation and pass directly to William.
For the Jubilee itself, a third of people say they will personally be celebrating the Jubilee, with 50% saying they will not. 20% of people think they will be attending a party to celebrate the Jubilee, with 52% thinking they will watch television coverage of the Jubilee celebrations in London.
A lot of newspaper coverage of the polls has reported them in the light of support for the monarchy being highest ever – certainly I’ve been asked a lot whether the jubilee has made the monarchy more popular. Exactly how true this is is a difficult question to answer. Certainly the recent polls suggest the monarchy has got more popular in the last couple of years – MORI had found opposition to the monarchy pretty steady for 20 years at around 18%, and it fell to 13% in their last poll; YouGov found support for the monarchy up 4 points to 73% since last year; ICM’s poll showing 67% think the country would be worse off without a monarch is its highest since they started asking the question in 1997.
However, the Queen has been on the throne for 60 years (and the monarchy, obviously, has been around a lot longer than her), so being more popular than it has been in the last couple of decades isn’t saying that much. There are precious few trackers that go back before the difficult times that the monarchy experienced in the late 1980s and early 1990s – one that does is a MORI question on whether the country would be better off or worse off without a monarchy, which MORI have asked since 1984. Back in the 1980s only around 5-7% of people thought the country would be better off without a monarchy, but this seems to have jumped to around 14% after 1991 and has remained in double figures since then. Looking back further than that, there were a couple of Gallup polls on attitudes to the monarchy, but generally speaking it wasn’t the sort of thing that was asked about much.
From what scant evidence we have, it looks as though the approaching jubilee has boosted support for the monarchy to the highest levels in recent years, but it does appear to have been more popular if you go back to before the break-up of Charles and Diana’s marriage and the problems the royal family suffered in the 1990s.
Tonight we have the usual YouGov/Sunday Times poll, I think there may be a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday and, most intriguingly, there is an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph that Martin Boon is suggesting has some sort of exciting methodological innovation attached to it…