The monarchy: the view from the “Commonwealth realms”

By Lord Ashcroft

Yesterday we looked at what my new polling tells us about how people in the UK see the monarchy in the run-up to the coronation. Today I will explore how things look in the “Commonwealth realms” – the 14 other countries around the world where the King is the head of state.

My polling found that in six of these countries, more said they would vote to become a republic in a referendum tomorrow than would choose to remain a constitutional monarchy. Margins for a republic were tight in Antigua and Barbuda (2 points), Australia (7 points) and Jamaica (9 points), but rather less so in The Bahamas, Canada (both 24 points) and the Solomon Islands (25 points) (more…)

“It might seem a strange system in this day and age, but it works” – my polling on the UK and the monarchy

By Lord Ashcroft

In the months leading up to Saturday’s Coronation I have polled nearly 23,000 people in the 15 countries in which King Charles III is head of state, and conducted 44 focus groups around the UK and in eight other nations around the world. Tomorrow on ConHome I will look at how the “Commonwealth realms” see their relationship with Britain and the Crown; today I will focus on how people see the institution here at home.

Cultivated ConHome readers may scowl at my opening with something as tabloidy as a popularity league table, but I think there are at least three things worth noting about the royal family’s favourability ratings. The first is that the King is not the most popular living royal, but rather occupies an upper-mid-table position with similar scores to the family overall and the institution itself. The Prince of Wales scores notably higher (more…)

Uncharted Realms: The Future of the Monarchy in the UK and Around the World

By Lord Ashcroft

On 6 May 2023, Westminster Abbey witnesses the Coronation of a head of state not just for the UK, but for 14 other countries around the world from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Yet aside from anecdotal evidence and occasional small-scale surveys, there is little reliable data as to how people in these countries – including the UK itself – see their relationship with the Crown, or what think about the idea of a monarch at the apex of their political system. In that sense, they are the “uncharted realms”.

As we begin a new chapter in the history of the monarchy, I wanted to look in detail at how people around the world see its place in their country, and what role, if any, they think it has in their national life. To that end, in the months leading up to the Coronation we have surveyed 22,701 people throughout all 15 countries in which King Charles III is head of state. We have also conducted 44 focus groups with people of different backgrounds in the UK and in eight of the so-called“Commonwealth realms”: Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

This is the kind of exercise Lord Ashcroft Polls usually deploys to scrutinise views of political leaders, parties, issues and campaigns. But while the King doesn’t need to be elected, the institution of the monarchy does need the public’s consent. A monarchy that lost the support of the people would quickly find itself on borrowed time.

Among many other things, we asked people about the role and relevance of the monarchy in their country, if they think it is unifying or divisive, how it should modernise, what if anything they would rather see in its place, whether they benefit from their ties with the UK, the significance in the debate of Britain’s colonial history, what they think of individual royals and the various controversies that surround them, how they would vote in a referendum on keeping the monarchy or becoming a republic, and what they think their country would choose in such a referendum tomorrow or in the future. The results, I think, paint a fascinating picture not just of how the people in each of these countries see their relationship with the Crown, but how they see Britain and indeed how they see themselves (more…)

Secure in Britain, but the future abroad looks much less certain

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Daily Mail.

Yesterday I wrote about how people in Britain see their monarchy as they prepare to witness the coronation of the new King. Despite some challenges, the institution looks secure for now. But my research found that in the Commonwealth realms – the 14 other countries around the world in which the King is head of state – the picture is much more mixed.

In six of these countries – Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica and the Solomon Islands – more voters said they would choose to become a republic in a referendum tomorrow than would opt to stay with the Crown. The question is not settled – in all but two, the proportion saying they didn’t know or would not vote was bigger than the gap between the two sides – but it shows the balance of forces and perhaps the direction of travel.

In the eight countries that would stay with the monarchy, the margins ranged from tight (5 points in Belize, 6 points in Papua New Guinea) to comfortable (29 points in St Vincent and The Grenadines, 45 points in the Pacific nation of Tuvalu).

At first glance, this suggests a division of varying magnitude as to what people think about the royal family, or how they see the institution of the monarchy. In fact, it has more to do with how they see themselves, and what if anything they think they gain from their relationship with Britain and having the King at the apex of their political system (more…)

Commonwealth realms Monarchy Map

By Lord Ashcroft

The Monarchy Map: key results from the 15 countries around the world where the King is head of state

By Lord Ashcroft

See the key results from our 23,000-sample poll of the 15 countries around the world where King Charles III is head of state. How do they feel about the monarchy? Would they vote to keep it, or become a republic? What would they expect the result to be now – and in ten years’ time? Click on the country to see what the population thinks.

Click here to see the map.

The monarchy has to change, but the King has time and goodwill on his side

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Daily Mail.

Nobody elected the King. Depending on your point of view, this is either an indefensible outrage or the beauty of a constitutional monarchy: a head of state above the grubbiness of politics, who can therefore unite people whatever their allegiance. But if the royals don’t need our votes, they still need our consent. Without public support, the monarchy would be on borrowed time.

According to my latest poll of more than 11,000 people around the UK, the King has no immediate worries on this front. Voters in England, Scotland and Wales said that in a referendum tomorrow they would keep the monarchy by comfortable margins; only in Northern Ireland, with its own constitutional debate, did voters lean towards the idea of a republic.

There were vast differences by age, however: while three quarters of British voters aged 65 or over would vote for the status quo, 18 to 24s would choose a republic by 34% to 28%, with nearly four in ten of them saying they didn’t know or would not vote. And while white voters said they would keep the monarchy by a 40-point margin, Asian-heritage voters backed a republic by 2 points, and those from black African or Caribbean backgrounds by 14 points.

Nor does the population divide neatly into roundheads and cavaliers (more…)

Committed Royalist, Modern Monarchist, Neutral Pragmatist? Take the survey to find out

By Lord Ashcroft

Our polling on the monarchy has identified five segments of opinion on the issue: Committed Royalists, who strongly support the royal family and the Crown; Mainstream Monarchists who back the institution but recognise the need to change with the times; Neutral Pragmatists, who lean towards the status quo largely because they think the alternative would be worse; Modern Republicans, who see the monarchy as divisive and worry about its colonial legacy, and Angry Abolitionists, who think the royals care little for the country and believe the institution has no place in the modern world.

To find out which you are, take our survey here.


Monarchy survey

By Lord Ashcroft